December 31, 2010

Takenoko no O-suimono (Bamboo Shoot Clear Soup)/タケノコ(たけのこ、筍)のお吸い物

In days of old, bamboo shoots were a seasonal ingredient, available only in spring, but now water-packed ones are available all year round.
Takenoko no o-suimono is a favorite of my daughter's. She says she can never get tired of it.
Note: Takenoko (bamboo shoots) go very well with wakame seaweed. Takenoko need not necessarily be accompanied by wakame, but when we say takenoko no o-suimono, it almost always means clear soup with takenoko and wakame.
注: タケノコはワカメ(わかめ、若布)ととてもよく合います。必ずしもタケノコにワカメを添える必要なないのですが、タケノコのお吸い物と言うと、大抵、それはタケノコとワカメのお吸い物のことです。

I usually use cheap dried wakame. To reconstitute it, add lukewarm water.

It will be reconstituted within minutes. Drain.

Sorry, I don't have a recipe to share. In this pot, I added 2 tsp instant dashi and 1 tsp salt. Add thinly sliced bamboo shoots, bring to a boil, and stop the heat immediately. Add 1 tsp soy sauce. I used dark soy sauce.

I, for one, do not add wakeme to the pot. I put some wakame in an individual o-wan (soup bowl), and add some soup and takenoko.
The reason for this is that wakame can go stale so quickly in the hot hot. Within, say, four minutes, it will no longer taste "fresh".

Edited to add: I forgot to mention that I used about half the takenoko.
追記: 言い忘れました。タケノコは半分しか使ってません。

A small sprig of kinome (young leaves of sansho (Japanese pepper)) is often used to give additional fragrance. Mitsuba (trefoil) or yuzu zest may also be used.
Images of takenoko no o-suimono/たけのこのお吸い物のイメージ

Edited to add this note:
As I mentioned in a comment, the white substance you will see when you cut a water-packed bamboo shoot is a type of amino acid called tyrosine. It is harmless, and is known to have some medical effects.
For details, click here.


Yangsze said...

Hi Hiroyuki,

Thanks for the recipe! I bought some water packed bamboo shoots from the market but couldn't find an expiration date on the package. How long can I keep them in the fridge before I have to use them? I want to try to make your soup, but I'm afraid my bamboo shoots might be too old (couple of weeks)!

Hiroyuki said...

YSC: In the fridge? You mean that you have already opened the pack and put the bamboo shoot in the fridge? If so, just believe your nose and tongue! I can't give you a definitive answer as to how long a bamboo shoot will keep in the fridge once the pack is opened. I did some googline and found some say three days or so.
If you haven't opened the pack, however, you don't have to put it in the fridge; just keep it in a cool, dark place. One manufacturer says that the expiration date is six months after manufacture:

One more thing: The white substance you will see when you cut the bamboo shoot is tyrosine, and it's not harmful. You don't have to remove it.

That being said, I usually remove some of it after I thinly slice a takenoko by putting in a bowl and rinsing with water because too much of it will affect the flavor of the soup.

One more thing: This type of soup shouldn't be heavily seasoned to savor the flavors of the takenoko and the wakame.

Yangsze said...

Thanks Hiroyuki! I put the unopened pack in the fridge a few weeks ago, but it sounds like it is probably ok to eat it then (I was wondering why it was being sold unrefrigerated in the supermarket!).