5 dishes with bamboo shoots that everyone needs to try
It’s known as one of the fastest growing plants, but tender bamboo shoots also give several dishes unique flavours. Here’s a look at some lesser-known delicacies
Come monsoons, and our kitchens start showcasing dishes with ingredients which are as delicious as they are seasonal. The tender shoots of edible bamboo are one such delicacy that star in several recipes. Usually found during the monsoons, this crunchy delight has a unique flavour that can be polarising. Fresh bamboo shoots also need to be prepped before they can be cooked. But for its fans, these are a much-prized ingredient during the rainy season.
Interestingly, while bamboo is actually a grass, it was legally defined as a tree under the Indian Forest Act, 1927, which is why it was illegal to cut and transport bamboo grown on the forest as well as non-forest land. However, an amendment in the Act in 2017 exempted bamboo grown in non-forest areas from the definition of a tree. Hence, a felling or transit permit is no longer required for bamboo, which grows in non-forest areas. However, with climate change and varying rainfall patterns affecting bamboo production, sustainable consumption is always key.
Tender bamboo shoots feature in several dishes in South India and the North East. Here's a look at some of these lesser-known delicacies.
This bamboo shoot curry, also known as kalale or kanile, is a popular Kodagu delicacy. The coconut-based curry features onions, garlic, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chilli, and kachampuli, among other ingredients. Baimbale Kari is usually paired with akki rottis (traditional rice flatbreads).
Baanhgajor lagot kukura
Who knew chicken and bamboo shoots were a match made in heaven? Well, the Assamese did! Chicken, finely chopped or grated bamboo shoots, mustard oil, aromatics such as onion, ginger and garlic, and spice powders come together to give Baanhgajor Lagot Kukura its simple yet striking flavour. The classic Assamese curry is paired with steamed rice.
Keerla sukke is a spicy, sweet and sour dish popularly prepared by Konkani speaking Saraswat Brahmins. The semi-dry curry goes well as a side with chapati or with rice and daali toy (a traditional tur-dal based dish). A paste of coconut, urad dal, coriander seeds, dried Kashmiri chillies, jaggery and tamarind pulp or hog plum form the base of the dish. Boiled bamboo shoots are then cooked in this mixture and the dish is tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves before being served.
The signature dish of the Ao tribe in Nagaland, Amrusu is a rice gruel made with chicken and bamboo shoots. The simple dish is flavoured with ginger, garlic and green chillies. Considered a comfort food, Amrusu is an extremely filling dish.
Mesu pickle is a popular recipe belonging to the Limbu community in Sikkim. Bamboo shoots are mixed with mustard oil, garlic, chilli powder and salt and left to ferment in a glass jar. The result is a flavourful pickle that goes well with dal and rice or chapati.
Are there any other bamboo shoot recipes that you’d like to share with us? Tell us in the comments section below