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Preparing Bamboo Shoot

Takenoko no Shita-yude

If you get fresh bamboo shoots in the spring season


Classic-style donabe (3-qt/ 3L capacity)


  • 6-7 medium-size bamboo
  • water
  • 1 cup (240 ml) rice bran flour ("nuka")
  • 2 dry red peppers


  1. Cut off a tip from each bamboo shoot at an angle. Slash to make an incision just deep enough to barely touch the tender part lengthwise.

  2. Combine the bamboo shoots, and enough amount of water to cover them in the donabe. Add the rice bran (“nuka”) and dry red peppers. Bring to simmer and put a drop lid (“otoshibuta”) on the surface. Simmer over low heat until the thick part of a bamboo shoot is just tender when inserting a skewer. (35-40 minutes for a small to medium-size bamboo shoot.) Turn off the heat and let it cool down completely.

  3. Peel the tough leaves of each bamboo shoot to reveal the tender interior. Cut off the firm tip and bottom parts. Also, shave off the bumpy part from the bottom part’s outer layer.

  4. Once all the bamboo shoots are peeled out of tough leaves, soak them in cold water for 30 minutes to remove any excess bitterness. Pre-cooked bamboo shoots can be kept in water and refrigerated for up to 1 week. Meanwhile, water needs to be replaced once a day.

  • Because freshly foraged bamboo shoot contains toxic hydrocyanic acid, before it’s ready to be used in cooking, bamboo shoot needs to be pre-cooked with rice bran flour (“nuka”) to remove the toxic. By cooking bamboo shoot with rice bran, bran’s starch removes the toxin from bamboo shoot and absorbs it. Also, by adding dry red pepper, it helps removing bitterness from bamboo shoot. It’s a traditional simple process, which we still practice every time we get fresh bamboo shoot. And, every time, I feel high respect for our ancestors with such wisdom. It’s also very important to do this process as soon as you get the fresh bamboo shoot, whether you use it soon or not. The longer you keep it (without pre-cooking), the more the bitterness in bamboo shoot increases.

About the measurements used in our recipes

For rice measurement, traditional Japanese rice measurement is used.
  • 1 rice-cup = 3/4 US cup = 180 ml
Other conversions (US to metric measures)
  • 1 cup = 240 ml1
  • inch (1") = 2.5 cm
  • 1 ounce (1 oz) = 30 ml