Does Spring bring the bamboo shoots, or is it the bamboo shoots that bring Spring?
Whichever it is, when bamboo shoots are in the shops, Spring has finally arrived.
So just what are the things in this photo? Yup, those are fresh bamboo shoots.
At this size they would be just pocking the very tips of their heads out of the earth. But within just a year these amazing plants will grow to up to 20 metres tall.
Perhaps the most famous bamboo shoot dishes in Japan are bamboo shoot rice, and bamboo shoots boiled with wakame seaweed, wakatakeni.
I will make you bamboo shoot rice another day. This time, instead of wakame, I used another wild Spring vegetable, baby ferns – kogomi. A friend gave them to me the other day – “I just dug these up from the mountains,” she said.
For wakatakemi, a good dashi stock is the key!
Try making a bonito and konbu mixed dashi (here’s how), and you’ll see.
This is the taste of Springtime in Japan!
- 2 bamboo shoots that have been pre-boiled to remove the bitterness.
- 500 ml bonito and konbu dashi
- 100 ml sake
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- boiled baby ferns
- 1 handful of bonito flakes
1. Cut the bamboo shoots lengthwise into bite size pieces.
2. Put them in a saucepan with the dashi and sake, and put on the heat.
3. Once the dashi has reached boiling point, reduce the heat. Scoop off any froth that appears if necessary. Add the soy sauce, mirin and salt, and simmer for 20 mins.
4. Add the baby ferns and bonito flakes and heat for 5 mins more.
5. You can add a garnish of kinome (Japanese pepper (sansho) leaf) if you have some!