What can I use instead of bamboo shoots? Fresh water chestnuts, Jerusalem artichokes, and mung bean sprouts are the best substitute for bamboo shoots, offering a similar slightly sweet, earthy flavor. Other suitable replacements include baby corn, broccoli stems, Indian cucumber root, Daikon radish, jicama, carrots, and fresh asparagus.
Bamboo shoots are the juvenile sprouts of the bamboo plant. In the spring, bamboo shoots often make their way into Asian cuisine. They offer rich health properties and add a delightfully sweet, earthy flavor to stir-fries, soups, stews, curries, salads, and vegetable sides. However, consider the following alternatives if you aren’t ready to try this exotic shoot.
The Best Bamboo Shoots Substitutes
Fresh Water Chestnuts
Water chestnuts are aquatic tubers popular in Asian cuisine. They are crispy with a juicy finish.
You can use these versatile tubers to replace bamboo shoots in many dishes. While fresh water chestnuts have a more rigid texture, they lend a similar, slightly sweet, earthy flavor.
You can boil, grill, or broil water chestnuts. Fresh water chestnuts complement stir-fries, soups, and stuffings.
You can also turn a traditional vegetable side into something intriguing by adding sliced water chestnuts.
Replace 1 cup bamboo shoots with 1 cup fresh water chestnuts. You can adjust the ratios to meet your preference.
Jerusalem artichokes, also known as “sunchokes,” are actually not at all related to artichokes. Instead, they belong to the sunflower family.
The white flesh of Jerusalem artichokes boasts a sweet, nutty flavor and crunchy texture. Therefore, you can use them to substitute bamboo shoots.
Jerusalem artichokes add a delicious nutty flavor to soups and stews. However, you can boil, roast, or fry them as an alternative side dish to bamboo shoots. Alternatively, enjoy this fresh tuber taste in salads.
Replace 1 cup bamboo shoots with 1 cup asparagus stems.
Mung Bean Sprouts
Mung bean sprouts are the edible plump shoots of germinated beans and are a staple in Asian and Taiwanese cuisine.
These bean sprouts have a crispy texture and a slightly nutty flavor, making them an ideal replacement for bamboo shoots.
While mung beans are the most popular bean sprouts, you can use types of bean sprouts too.
Bean sprouts are readily available and affordable. Add them to soups, stir-fries, noodles, dumplings, and salads.
Replace 1 cup bamboo shoots with 1 cup bean sprouts. When substituting bean sprouts, add them at the last minute to retain their crunchy texture.
Baby corn – the juvenile version of standard corn – is mild, tender, and crisp. The corn has a slightly sweet, grassy flavor as it’s harvested before the sugars build up.
Baby corn is an excellent replacement for bamboo shoots, offering a similar crisp texture. However, juvenile corn is sweeter than bamboo shoots.
Baby corn is exceptionally versatile. You can replace bamboo shoots with young corn in stir-fries, noodles, soups, and curries. You can also sprinkle bits of corn over salads or serve it alone as a side.
Replace 1 cup bamboo shoots with 1 cup baby corn. You can adjust the ratios to meet your preference. Additionally, reduce the cooking time when substituting bamboo shoots with baby corn.
Broccoli stems or cores are excellent substitutes for bamboo shoots. However, the bunches are too soft and petite to replace bamboo shoots.
Like bamboo shoots, broccoli stems are firm and chewy, offering a slightly sweet, earthy flavor.
To mimic bamboo shoots, trim the bunches off the broccoli stalks and slice them into thin strands. Then, you can add the lightly grilled broccoli to stir-fries, curries, soups, and salads.
Replace 1 cup bamboo shoots with 1 cup broccoli stem strands. You can adjust the ratios to meet your preference.
Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola)
The Indian cucumber root is an edible tuber that has a similar cucumber-like taste.
You can replace bamboo shoots with cucumber roots in most recipes. However, they have a more assertive flavor than bamboo shoots.
You can use raw, cooked, or fried cucumber roots when substituting bamboo shoots. In addition, cucumber roots are a unique addition to stir-fries and salads.
Replace 1 cup bamboo shoots with 1 cup cucumber roots. You can adjust the ratios to meet your preference.
Daikon radish is a staple in Asian cuisines. These long tubular white veggies can be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled.
In addition, you can use daikon radish to replace bamboo shoots if you don’t mind the slightly spicy, peppery flavor.
Add daikon radish to salads, soups, stews, and hot pots. You can also add the radish to raw greens to salads.
Replace 1 cup bamboo shoots with 1 cup daikon radish. In addition, ensure you don’t overcook the daikon as it will become too soft and lose its crunchy texture when replacing bamboo shoots.
Jicama (Mexican Turnip)
Jicama, or Mexican turnip, is a crunchy root vegetable with a crunchy texture and neutral to slightly sweet, nutty flavor.
You can enjoy jicama raw or cooked in sweet or savory dishes. This versatile vegetable is a suitable replacement for bamboo shoots.
Jicama keeps its crunchy texture when cooked and barely changes the flavor of recipes. You can add it to soups, stews, and salads.
Replace 1 cup bamboo shoots with 1 cup jicama.
Carrots are a popular and versatile vegetable worldwide. You can replace bamboo shoots with carrots in most recipes as they offer a similar crunchy texture.
Thinly slice or julienne carrots to replace bamboo shoots in stir-fries, stews, soups, curries, and hot pots. You can also enjoy them in salads or as a single side.
Replace 1 cup bamboo shoots with 1 cup thinly sliced carrots. Note that carrots are sweeter than bamboo shoots. You may want to add a counteractive ingredient to break the sweetness.
Asparagus is a highly nutritious and versatile vegetable. Fresh asparagus offers a similar earthy flavor and crunchy texture to bamboo sprouts, making it an ideal replacement.
Wash the asparagus spears properly and trim the tough ends before cooking them. Then, you can add them to stir-fries, curries, and soups.
Alternatively, steam, roast, broil or grill the asparagus to enjoy it as a side.
Replace 1 cup bamboo shoots with 1 cup asparagus stems.