Dry-Braised Bamboo Shoots with Broccoli

Fresh bamboo shoots are rare outside the Southeast Asian sub-tropics, where they feature in many recipes as a vegetable, as part of a stuffing or as a garnish for many dishes. They are boiled before eating because they contain a cyanide-type poison which must be broken down. I have often wondered how it was discovered that so dangerous a food could be transformed into a delicacy — who first dared to try fresh bamboo shoots? However, those of us outside Southeast Asia must make do with the tinned variety. This is unfortunate, because fresh bamboo shoots are a true delicacy. The tinned version is an acceptable substitute but one that requires a little work to restore the flavour lost in the canning process. Served with rice, this recipe makes a light and very appetizing vegetarian meal.


  • 225 g (8 oz) fresh broccoli
  • 550 g (1¼ lb) tinned bamboo shoots
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) oil, preferably groundnut
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon yellow bean sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon oil, preferably groundnut
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic


Separate the broccoli heads into florets, then peel the stalks if necessary and slice. Blanch the broccoli pieces in a large pan of boiling salted water for several minutes. Drain and immerse them in cold water. Drain again thoroughly in a colander and set aside. Rinse the tinned bamboo shoots well.

Cut the bamboo shoots into 7.5 x 1 cm (3 x ½ in) pieces and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper. Heat the 150 ml (5 fl oz) of oil in a wok or large frying-pan. Pan-fry the bamboo shoots until they are nicely brown. Drain thoroughly on kitchen paper and set aside.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil and re-heat the wok. Add the ginger, ½ teaspoon of the salt and the bean sauce, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Return the bamboo shoots to the wok and add the sugar, rice wine and stock. Braise for 3–5 minutes over high heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove and set aside.

Wipe the wok clean, re-heat and add the 1 tablespoon of fresh oil. When smoking slightly, add the garlic, remaining salt and broccoli to the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute. Return the bamboo shoots to the wok and continue to stir-fry for another 2–3 minutes or until heated through. Turn the mixture onto a platter and serve at once.