Bamboo Shoot: A Seasonal Ingredient


Fresh bamboo shoots have a very delicate flavour, which is why it is often fermented first before using it for cooking.

Bamboo shoots, belonging to the Bambusoideae subfamily of grass, can't be called as a common ingredient across India, however, various parts of India boasts regional dishes that are lovingly prepared using this edible ingredient. 

On a trip to the North-Eastern part of India,you are bound to come across a popular delicacy, especially in Meghalaya or Nagaland - slices of pork meat cooked with bamboo shoots. The tender pieces of bamboo shoots lend a distinctive flavour to the dishes, along with a bite, making it immensely relishing. 


n Assam it is known as khorisa (bamboo shoot pickle). In Karnataka, regions like Coorg and Malnad use bamboo shoots to dish out stir-fries or pickles and is known as kalale in the local language. 

Since bamboo shoots contain certain toxins (cyanide), a practice that is followed before consumption is soaking sliced pieces in water and letting it rest for 2-3 days, then draining the water. In some cultures like Sikkim and Nepal, the shoots are boiled in water for 15-20 minutes along with turmeric to remove the toxins.
In Orissa and Jharkhand too, the locals use bamboo shoots to make pickles and curries. A popular delicacy in Orissa is Ambila as well as Pithou Bhaja.

Fresh bamboo shoots have a very delicate flavour, it is often fermented first before using it for cooking. During the fermentation process the pungency (sharp strong smell or taste) is builds up, which is then teamed with chillies, oil and other ingredients to create curries, pickles and stir-fries.

It is said that bamboo shoots are good sources of proteins, vitamins and minerals, particularly Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, etc. They are also high sources of dietary fiber while being low in sugar content.

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