Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Beyond Plain Rice II--A Recipe for Take No Ko Gohan

You know what that dark brown thing is... right?

It's Take No Ko... a bamboo shoot.  A baby bamboo (or, well... maybe an elementary school bamboo, judging by the size).

You can cook with these-- I got one of these once a year after Koshi started kindergarten, as the third year kids were taken out to dig bamboo shoots.  The first time he came home with a large something wrapped in newspaper, I'll admit, I panicked slightly.

I knew that it could be cooked with, though, since I'd seen them at our Daiei packaged with what looked at the time like sawdust (couldn't imagine what *that* was for).

That one ran me about Y498-- not bad.

Yes, it's fuzzy.  See?

You don't eat that part, though.

Chop off a big hunk of the bottom and peel off several of the thick outside layers
(I know-- I see you all.  Racing to your local Asian market to get bamboo shoots as is, right from the ground.  Rest assured that you can make this with the kind that's already sliced and boiled;-)

Use your Big Knife and put a slice into the center, top to bottom, so that it will finish cooking in your lifetime.

Put the Take no Ko (Bamboo's Child, literally) in your Big Pot, and fill with water 'til it's covered.  Dump that little pack of sawdust nuka (rice bran--it's *very* good for you, and it figures as an ingredient in lots of Japanese facial skin care products.  Ever notice how Japanese tend to look a lot younger than they really are?  This may well be one of the reasons.)

Simmer it for an hour, then turn off the fire and let it just sit there in the pot for two more hours.  That way, it won't be over-boiled, and will also be easier to peel away the rest of the fuzzy layers when it's cooler.

Always ends up *much* smaller than what you thought it would be..

Make sure to take off all the fuzzy-- it's nice to pet, but not to eat.

Slice it in half, then into smaller, bite-sized pieces (not too thick).

Other ingredients (though this can vary) are:

1. One piece of aburage (bean curd) cut into four pieces then sliced.
2. About half a carrot, thinly julienned.
3. Konnyaku (solidified jelly made from the rhizome of Devil's Tongue), cut small.  Or, use the noodles (about 50g).  I cut them in two places so they wouldn't be too long.

San go of rice... three of those cute little wooden measuring boxes if you have one.  If not, 450g of rice (in ounces?  *No* idea.  But I think that's a pound.), rinse it well and put it into the rice cooker and fill to the line for 3-go of rice (or 450g).

Dump the vegetables on top.

For the soup, you need:

1. Light (Usu-kuchi) Soy sauce, 1Tbsp
2. Cooking Sake, 2Tbsp
3. Hon Dashi (powdered stock--in the box on the left), 1 Tbsp
4. Shio (salt), 1tsp

Put all that into the water in the Kama (you can see my rice-cooker pot on the right) and mix it all up.

Put the Kama into the rice cooker and hit Go!  This rice is fairly filling (or maybe my kids just like it a lot, and eat more of it than usual), so you don't really need to have a huge meat dish with this.  Bamboo Rice is nice to have with tofu and miso soup and a couple of vegetables for a vegetarian dish that I never notice is vegetarian.  Just Japanese.  Take no Ko Gohan also makes *great* onigiri the next day (if there's any left over;-))



Mata asobou, ne!


  1. Oh, I have a serious affliction of love-of-bamboo-shoots. Now, I don't have the fuzzy kind growing nearby, but I have the kind that's already boiled and sliced for you. And I am addicted. I use it in almost all of my cooking; whether it be Asian or now. There is something about the taste. Oishii! But, do tell me: does the taste of fresh bamboo differ from that of canned? I assume it does, but is the difference one of degree, or one of kind? ... Take no ko ... I like that name! I think I'll start referring to all bamboo shoots by it from here on. C:

    As for this recipe: I don't think I have even half the ingredients ready available to me. I think improvisation-cooking is coming right up! (My favourite kind of cooking.)

  2. Stupid blogger, not letting me comment like normal

    mmmmmm now i want to eat that! I've really got to start trying out some of these rice recipes. I'm clearly not using my rice cooker to its full potential

  3. Thanks for the post! One of the pleasures of your cooking posts is how some of the ingredients sounds like they could come from some sorcerer's spellbook:

    "Konnyaku (solidified jelly made from the rhizome of Devil's Tongue)"

    I don't know what the heck that is, but it sounds fascinating!

  4. Amy, I love your website - it is so biologically joyous!

    I managed to get pictures of a fox family playing quite openly outside in the small 'garden' of the hospital here in Kings Cross where our library is. You would be soooo jealous! One of them was playing with two magpies who were not at all bothered, indeed the two magpies seemed quite happy with the foxes & the mother did not try & catch them.
    best wishes

  5. Josephine-- Improv cooking is the best kind! Improvise however you like! Some people put in Take No Ko and Green Peas, others do Take No Ko and Bean Curd still others, just the Take No Ko. I've seen plenty of variations! (p.s.--I think "Take No Ko" is totally cute myself, so I always call it that to myself:-))

  6. Sarah-- Blogger has been doing all sorts of weird things lately. Can Poltergeists get into computer programs? And-- your rice cooker is your friend! Use it, use it! Tell me if you try making this! I get very excited to hear when somebody's tried a recipe that I've posted:-))

  7. Brian-- "how some of the ingredients sounds like they could come from some sorcerer's spellbook:"

    Bwahahaha! Brian, your comment made me just laff and laff. But, thinking about it--that's *exactly* why I link to Wiki for lots of the ingredients! I know (somewhere in my brain) that there's No. Way. I can just give the name in English (which sounds bizarre to me anyway, 'cause I always just use the Japanese words for these things). People will totally be picturing me in a black, pointy hat dancing around my kitchen cackling "Round about the caldron go! In the poison'd entrails throw! Eye of Newt and Devil's Tongue, Brains of man from branches hung!" (Ok--I made those last two lines up).

    So--I link to Wiki and hope people find the lengthier explanation there soothing.

  8. Dominic-- thanks so much. It means a lot that you regularly read my silly stuff:-))

    A fox! Oooh!! Went over to WEIT and saw the photo! A mama fox and three kits in The Middle Of London! Forgive me all the exclamation points--but I'm excited and jealous and all "ooh! ooh!"

    You guys!! Run right over to WEIT *right now*! Jerry Coyne has posted the photo of the foxes and the backstory!

    Squeee! (Sorry--can't help myself. *Very* exciting. Had it been me, I'd have fallen off my bike for sure. I compliment you on your cool-headed ability to remember to get the camera out at such a moment:-))