Nutritious Bamboo Shoot
I used to Hate It
As a kid, I used to hate bamboo shoot dishes. I couldn't understand how bamboo sticks could be delicious. Nutritious, yes, because weird tasting food often was nutritious, but delicious? So it was Lenten Season for me each time my dad cooked the dish (he loved it), and I had to figure out a way how to sneak in hotdogs into my room after the meal. I really didn't care about nutritious bamboo shoot dishes.
But taste buds change during young adulthood, and soon I was missing nutritious bamboo shoot dishes from our family dinner table and my dear mom would look at me suspiciously. I love its Ilocano diningding version, and as long as its my spouse's version, I love its ginataan variant, too. Either of the two, there's always the saluyot leaves to match the shoots with. And they're perfect.
Bamboo shoots, or labong in our vernacular, are very rich dietary fibers. Just don't cook them a bit mature or the fibers will turn into bamboo strips. Very young labong plants taste really superb! And together with saluyot green leaves they can do a great detoxification job in you, scrubbing away at the stubborn toxins sticking on your intestinal walls and colon areas. Imagine that colon cleansing with a tasty and nutritious bamboo shoot dish.
If you want great tasting labong, try getting it yourself, or have your suki or dealer-friend at the local wet market reserve you young bamboo shoots, and I mean really young ones. Many shoots available in markets today are a bit mature already. It's hard to digest bamboo sticks, you know. Young shoots pop up out of the ground in the midst of mature bamboo plants in clusters. Harvest them pronto when they've grown enough.
Nutritious Bamboo Shoot
Aside from dietary fibers, labong is rich in vitamins and minerals. Just imagine getting Vitamins A, C, D, E and K, plus Vitamins B6 and 12. You also get thiamine, folate, riboflavin, and niacin, among others.
Calcium and iron are among its minerals, no wonder my grandpa who was a hundred years old plus was still able to walk erect and carry a sackful of rice to a considerable distance. He said labong was good for empowering bones and knees and the entire bone structure. Old folks insist that labong is also a fat burner and perfect for weight loss. The nutritious bamboo shoot also has protein so its good for body builders.
Other minerals are selenium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium among many others. Accordingly, the only down factor of labong is its high sodium content. So, eat just enough of it, and careful with flavoring dishes made of it.
Like papaya, labong can be preserved as atchara. In the same way you prepare papaya for atchara, you do likewise with labong. This preserved salad is perfect for fried fish or meat dishes, as well as grilled. Mix the salad with string beans, carrots, and small, native, whole onions.
For a health drink, you may blend young and tender nutritious bamboo shoot pieces after steaming them until they're cooked. Mix them with your carrot or fruit shakes. Or make egg omelets with the steamed labong.
My favorite remains to be the dinigding or the ginataan of my spouse, especially when mixed with fish. So, why don't you try the nutritious bamboo shoot native dishes now?
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