Bamboo Shoots are nutrients rich traditional delicacy from Asia
Bamboo shoots are popular traditional foods in North Eastern India and in several parts of Asia including China, Japan, and South East Asia. They are rich in essential macronutrients and micronutrients such as proteins and amino acids, carbohydrates as fiber, Minerals, Vitamins, and Antioxidants and pretty much devoid of the fats. Bamboo shoots are consumed either in fermented or fresh form depending on the recipe and region under consideration. However, they should never be consumed raw as they also contain highly toxic cyanogenic glycosides that need to be removed after processing – fermentation, cleaning, and boiling.
Nutrition Profile of Bamboo Shoots
Bamboo Shoot has multiple health benefits and medicinal value due to its rich profile of nutrients and bioactive compounds such as phytosterols. They contain high concentrations of proteins, carbohydrates, Vitamins, and negligible fats and cholesterol. Additionally bamboo promotes biosynthesis of vital nutrients inside the body.
- The shoots contain 17 amino acids out of which 8 are counted as essential for the body. Tyrosine, arginine, histidine, and leucine are the amino acids present in most of the varieties.
- They contain good amounts of protein with the content being enhanced in the fermented version.
- Bamboo shoot is a rich source of minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and iron.
- The shoots contain high amounts of carbohydrates in the form of fiber and negligible amounts of fats in the form of palmitic, linoleic, and linolenic acids. This makes them an excellent food for Diabetics and people suffering from Hypertension.
- They contain high amount of phytosterols that have a structure similar to that of cholesterol, hence inhibiting the absorption of dietary cholesterol and its synthesis in intestines.
- Rich in antioxidants as the phenolic compounds – hence exhibiting antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory properties.
- Newly harvested bamboo shoots have a significant concentration of B Vitamins such as Thiamine, Niacin, and Vitamin B6, and Vitamins A and E.
Health Benefits of Bamboo Shoots
The shoots are used in traditional medicines and for health upkeep. They have multiple positive effects on the body and its systems and hence work as wonderful natural health food. In Ayurvedic texts, the shoots are recommended as a remedy for piles and urinary disorders.
- Bamboo shoots inhibit cholesterol absorption and production in the body. Reduces LDL levels (bad cholesterol) due to a high concentration of phytosterols and fiber content.
- Promote weight loss by boosting metabolic activities and bring the digestive system back on track.
- Promote heart health due to a high concentration of potassium that regulates the blood pressure and stabilizes heartbeat.
- Promotes longevity, inhibits oxidation process, reduces free radical decomposition, and also energizes the body due to a high concentration of phenolic compounds, phytosterols, and essential amino acids.
- Help to correct the metabolic disorders and related lifestyle diseases such as Diabetes, Obesity, and Hypertension. The shoots have a rich concentration of amino acids Tyrosine that facilitates the biochemical metabolism of our body.
- Via Tyrosine, the shoots promote the functioning of thyroid and pituitary glands that produce and regulate vital hormones for critical body functions.
- Due to high concentrations of phytosterols(flavones, amylase, and chlorophyll), the shoots possess anticancerous properties and are highly recommended in the diets of persons suffering from colon, breast, and prostate cancer.
- Improve appetite and digestion. Bamboo shoots have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties, hence used for stomach disorders, pain relief, and ulcers in traditional medicines.
- Boost the immune system due to a high concentration of B Vitamins and antioxidants.
Bamboo Shoots as Food – Recipes
The shoots are consumed in several forms across the regions. Fresh shoots are boiled first to remove the toxic compounds and then used along with vegetables, meat, and cereals to prepare local dishes such as curries, soups, pancakes, salads, and snacks.
We are sharing two recipes here that we prepared with the fermented shoots. One of them is a typical Oriya dish and another is a trial version based on suggestions and it turned out to be delicious.
Bamboo Shoots Recipes – Kardi – Shallow fried pancakes
Kardi is a traditional name for fermented bamboo shoots in Orissa in India. It is used to make shallow-fried pancakes that accompany the meal with rice and a few other vegetables/lentils/or meat preparations. It is delicious and can be consumed by little ones as well. It requires little preparation due to a requirement of freshly prepared rice batter – this perhaps can be replaced by rice flour should you lack time.
Ingredients (Serves 4-5 people)
- 4-5 Tablespoons raw rice
- 2-3 Cloves of garlic
- 1 Chilli (optional) – if you like hot/spicy
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric
- 3-4 (200g) Medium sized fermented bamboo shoots – finely grated as shown in the picture below
- Few teaspoons of cooking oil/ghee for shallow frying.
Method of Preparation (15-20 mins)
(Excludes soaking time for the rice to make paste – 45 mins)
- Wash the rice and soak in water for 45 mins.
- Add 1 tablespoon of water to the soaked rice. Add the garlic cloves and Chili and grind the mix fine to make a smooth paste.
- Now add the mix along with salt and turmeric to the bamboo shoots to make a coarse mix.
- Heat the flat pan (tawa) and spread few drops of oil on the pan so that the pancake doesn’t stick. You can use non-stick pan if not too sure. We used cast iron pan that is also used for dosa.
- Now spread the mix evenly to make a circular shape. Spread few drops of oil around it. Lower the heat and cover with a lid to allow steaming of the cake.
- After 1-2 mins, flip the pancake to other side and repeat the process.
- Take the pancake off the pan and serve with sauce (spicy will go well with it) or take it as part of the meal with rice.
Bamboo Shoots Recipes – Stir-Fried Vegetable Mix
This is another great recipe that is utterly delicious and super easy to make. With eggplants and bamboo as the key ingredients, it is a powerhouse of antioxidants and makes a great anti-inflammatory food option.
Ingredients (Serves 3-4 people)
- 3-4 (200g) Medium sized fermented bamboo shoots – cut in small pieces or finely grated
- 1 Medium size or small Onion – finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic (optional) – finely chopped
- 1 red chili (optional)
- 2-3 medium eggplants/brinjal/aubergine – chopped into small cubes of half inch
- 1-2 tablespoons Mustard Oil
- 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
- Salt to taste
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
- small bunch of coriander leaves – finely chopped for garnishing
Method of Preparation – 15 mins
- Cut the bamboo shoots into small pieces – half inch or finely grate them in food processor.
- Cut the eggplants into small cubes half inch.
- Chop the onions and garlic as instructed in ingredients.
- Heat a pan. Add Ghee/Mustard Oil. Once the oil is a little hot, add the Mustard Seeds.
- Let the seeds splutter. Add red chilli (cut/broken into 2 pieces). This brings out the flavour of the chilli and keeps the hotness away!!
- Add the onions and garlic. Stir till the mix turns golden brown.
- Add Turmeric and Salt, stir for few seconds.
- Add the shoots and eggplants, mix, and cover on low heat. Keep stirring in between and let it cook for another 10 mins.
- Take off from heat once the eggplants are soft and mushy.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve with chapati, parantha, or rice.
- Enjoy with your meal!
Bamboo Shoot – Beneficial Effects on Health
Reference Picture: Boiled Bamboo Shoots. Source: Flickr.com