Exploring The Culinary World Of Edible Shoots

Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers literally wasted nothing when they were in charge of the kitchen. If you take a closer look, you will see that every portion of the plant contains some nutrients and that a plant does require a lot of natural resources to develop, including water and minerals from the soil. We remove the thick peels and seeds, chop off the stalks and stems, and discard the leaves according to traditional cooking practices since we believe they are inedible. This practice definitely isn't friendly to the environment. We end up using roughly half of what we bought, or the value of our money.  

Cooking has become a secondary activity in many urban households due to the hectic schedules and focus on our work and relationships. Many beneficial cooking techniques have been lost. The good news is that as the west adopts root to stem cuisine, many of these practices are returning back to our kitchens and new restaurants. The idea of cooking with edible plant parts has gained popularity in part thanks to reality culinary shows as well.  

North east part of the India has the most basic and traditional way of cooking the local ingredients available. Bamboo shoots is a fairly strange product to many people in the West. For ornamental purposes, bamboo plants are frequently grown indoors. It has, however, been consumed by Asians for a very long period. You might be curious about the flavour of these crisp and crunchy sprouts if you've never tried them. They have a flavour that is somewhat akin to maize, we can say. The shoots can be extremely sweet after cooking. This crisp and slightly bitter off-white branch of the bamboo plant is simmered, braised, stir-fried, and even grilled by Asian chefs. Fresh shoots should be parboiled for 20 minutes to remove the bitter chemicals after removing the tough outer layers carefully: they have bristles. You will most likely use canned, in which case you should drain, rinse, and dry the shoots before using, unless you purchase at Asian markets.  

Chef Vaibhav Bhargava, Partner chef, CHO and Director of ABV hospitalities private limited shares that “India is one of the top five bamboo-producing nations, with about 136 species that benefit humanity in more than 1500 different ways. Bamboo shoots have been used historically and can be useful in reducing the issue of malnutrition because they are low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and rich in minerals like a perfect vegetable. Acidosasa edulis, Bambusa bambos, Chimonobambusa macrophylla, Chimonobambusa puberula, Black bamboo, Umbrella Bamboo, Golden Bamboo are some of the edible species of bamboos across the globe.” 

"Apart from bamboo shoot, people in Assam also consume shoots of taro and cane which is also known as beit. Cane is slightly bitter but people consume it for its health benefits. She says, "we use taro shoots in cooking pork dishes or just a chutney by wrapping it with banana leaf and roasted in fire . Later mash it and mixed with onion, chillies and raw mustard oil. Cane shoots are just consumed as stir fried or sometimes fried with guti aloo (small potatoes grown only in Assam). Some people add alkaline and make khar with it." Shares Sneha Saikia, a Northeast Homechef. Both the shoots are consumed only in day time as night time it is not advisable to consume alkaline or bitter. 

Fiddleheads, which are harvested from the ostrich fern, are the plant's new shoots, which resemble little scrolls poking through the ground. They are a delectable delicacy with many ffod lovers admirer who can hardly wait for fiddlehead season, but they are only available for a brief period of time during the spring. In some regions of Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttrakhand, fiddleheads are harvested from the wild areas, and these regions are also where they are most frequently consumed. Some foragers sell them to markets so that more people can access them. Fiddleheads are best when simply sautéed, steamed, or pickled shortly after harvest to provide a delightful spring flavour to basic dishes.  

Similarly, a tasty and useful vegetable is fennel. Although it has a pleasant, subtle licorice flavor, many people discard a lot of this helpful herb. Fennel is typically used in recipes in the form of the bulb, which is the plant's swelling base. The fennel bulb is eaten both raw, when its strong anise flavour is most noticeable, and cooked, where it becomes sweeter and mellower. Don't toss the rest, though! Not only is the entire fennel plant edible, but it also tastes great. The bulb, the long shoots that extend the entire length of the plant, and the fringe of fronds at the top are all edible parts of the fennel plant, each with a distinct texture and purpose. Although it comes from a different species of fennel plant that isn't grown for its bulb, fennel seed is a common spice. The less popular but no less delicious fennel shoots have the same flavour as the bulb but are much more fibrous. Older shoots should be used in meals that are cooked so that their flavour can be extracted while still retaining some of their texture. You may compost the used shoots in the same way as you would other aromatics like bay leaves, tea, and coffee grinds, saving a fantastic source of flavour. Younger shoots can be substituted for other vegetables if they are carefully minced to soften their rough texture. 

With the first rains, a wild vegetable called shevla bhaaji, also known as dragon stalk yam, sprouts up in Maharashtra's hills and woods. It can be prepared either with or without prawns, depending on tastes. It tastes good by itself, with rice, or with bhakri. The stalk gives off a warm, musty aroma that becomes increasingly rotten as it ripens. Fortunately, the smell disappears after cooking, revealing an earthy, umami flavour. The texture is solid but slightly chewy, evoking fibrous banana blooms. Uncooked tubers are poisonous and can make your throat itch and feel like itchy stitches. 

Banana plants begin as green branches called banana shoots. Just before they open and begin to produce leaves, they are clipped. In South-East Asia, they are offered in fresh markets; elsewhere, they are typically canned in brine. Banana shoots include fiber, which is excellent for those trying to reduce weight. The recommendation states that we can consume 25g to 40g of banana stem per day to support weight loss. It also contains a lot of potassium and vitamin B6, which are important nutrients for producing insulin and haemoglobin. Once a week consumption of banana stems lowers blood pressure. The stem of a banana also keeps the body's fluid balance in check. It has diuretic properties and aids in body detoxification. It's a widely held opinion that kidney stone patients can benefit from eating banana stems.