How to Make Japanese 【 Bamboo Shoot Sticky Rice】at Home | My 80 years-old aunt’s recipe!

How to Make Japanese 【 Bamboo Shoot Sticky Rice】at Home | My 80 years-old aunt’s recipe!

From Mountain to your Table

Selecting the perfect bamboo shoot is crucial to crafting a truly authentic Bamboo Shoot Sticky Rice, and Takenoko Okowa in Japanese. In this culinary exploration, we delve into the nuances of choosing, preparing, and cooking bamboo shoots to perfection, accompanied by the aromatic and sticky allure of seasoned rice.

Selecting the Ideal Bamboo Shoot

Appearance and Freshness: The journey begins at your local market. Look for bamboo shoots that are firm to the touch and free from blemishes or cracks—these are the signs of freshness. A fresh bamboo shoot should emit an earthy aroma, an indicator of its pristine condition.

Size and Texture: Size does matter when selecting bamboo shoots. Smaller ones are not only tender but also sweeter. Larger shoots, on the other hand, are often tougher and more fibrous due to their exposure to sunlight and extended growth periods above ground.

Preparation: From Cleaning to Cooking

Once you have the perfect bamboo shoot, it’s time to prepare it for cooking:

Trimming: Cut off the tip of the shoot diagonally on the curvy side and make a vertical slit. This allows for even cooking and facilitates easy peeling after cooking.

Cut off the tip
Cut a slit

Boiling: Place the bamboo in a pot, covering it with ample water. Add half a cup of rice bran and a red chili pepper (seeds removed) to mitigate the natural harshness and bitterness of the bamboo, enhancing its sweetness.

Tip: If rice bran is unavailable, a teaspoon of baking soda serves as a fine substitute.

Cover the pot with a lid slightly ajar to prevent boiling over and simmer on low heat for 40-45 minutes. Let it cool in the pot to room temperature, then cleanse the shoot in fresh water and store it in the refrigerator, changing the water daily to maintain freshness for up to a week.

How to cook Bamboo shoot Sticky Rice

Preparation of Ingredients:

  • Sticky Rice: Wash and soak the rice for six hours, preferably overnight.
  • Dried Shiitake Mushrooms: Soak these as well to rehydrate.
  • Other Ingredients: Prepare carrots, ginger, and Aburaage (thinly sliced tofu that’s been blanched to remove excess oil).


  1. Rice: Drain the sticky rice and steam wrapped in cheesecloth for 20 minutes.
  2. Sauté: Slice the bamboo shoot and other rehydrated ingredients. In a pan, combine all ingredients except for carrots and sauté. Add carrots towards the end.
  3. Mixing: Combine the sautéed mixture with the steamed rice until all liquid is absorbed.

The Finishing Touch: Kinome

Sprinkle some Kinome, the young leaves of the Japanese pepper plant, over your dish. These leaves are prized for their unique blend of sweet and peppery flavors. Lightly tap the leaves before sprinkling to activate their aromatic oils.

Serving Suggestions

Bamboo Shoot Sticky Rice can be enjoyed on its own or shaped into onigiri for a delightful picnic treat. The bamboo shoots impart a slightly nutty and earthy flavor to the rice, which absorbs the umami-rich tastes from all the ingredients, offering a rich and satisfying meal.

This dish is not just a recipe; it’s a culinary journey that highlights the subtleties of traditional Japanese cooking and the joy of eating seasonally and locally.

Bamboo Shoot Sticky Rice (Takenoko Okowa)

Crispy bamboo shoots with chewy Sticky rice that's simply irresistible.
Prep Time 8 hours
Cook Time 1 hour
Soaking Time 35 minutes
Total Time 9 hours 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 pot
  • 1 steamer


  • 200 g (7oz) Bamboo shoot
  • 2 rice cups (360ml) of Japanese Sticky Rice
  • 3~4 pieces Dried Shiitake mushroom
  • 30 g (1 oz) Carrot
  • 10 g (1/3 oz) Ginger
  • 1 sheet Aburaage
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Mirin
  • Kinome for garnishing ※optional


Bamboo shoot preparation

  • Cut off the tip diagonally on the curvy side, and cut the slit vertically so that you can cook evenly and remove the skin easily afterward.
    And cut off the firm root section.
    Put it in the pot and cover them with a generous amount of water.
    Add half a cup of rice bran And red chili pepper, removing the seeds.
    If you don't have rice bran,  use a teaspoon of baking soda instead.
  • Cover the lid with a drop or a paper towel; leave a little space between the lid and pot to avoid boiling over.
    Cook over low heat for 40 to 45 minutes.
  • When it comes to room temperature, wash away the Bran and remove some outside skin.
    Submerge in the fresh water and put it in the fridge.
    You can store the cooked bamboo shoot for up to a week by changing the water every day.

Sticky Rice Preparation

  • Wash sticky rice and soak in water for 6 hours.  
    Soak dried shiitake mushroom in water.
    Do this preparation a day before cooking.

Dried Shiitake Mushroom

  • Soak in water at least 1 hour. Do this a day before and keep in the fridge.

Cooking Bamboo Shoot Sticky Rice

  • The next day, drain the sticky rice and steam for 20 mins.
    Line a cheesecloth, transfer the prepared sticky rice, level the surface, and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes.
  • While steaming, slice the prepared bamboo shoot. Slice the bottom part into quarters and the top part into bite-size pieces to make it easy to bite through.
    Remove the stem from the rehydrated Dried Shiitake mushroom and slice thinly. Reserve the shiitake water for later use.
    Shred carrot and mince ginger.
    Cut Aburaage, which has excess oil removed by pouring boiling water into two, then cut into small pieces. 
  • Pass the shiitake water through a sieve to catch debris. Add water up to 1 rice cup (180ml).
     Put all the ingredients except carrots in frying pan and cook for 5 to 6 minutes until seasoned. Add the carrot and cook for another 1 minute.
  • Put steamed sticky rice into a large bowl, pour in the Cooked ingredients, and combine until all the liquid is absorbed.
    Please put it back in the steamer and cook it for more minutes for the last time.
  • Garnishing: hold Kinome on your palm and tap it with your other hand to activate the aroma.
    You can serve it as is, or it can make a great onigiri to take with you.
Keyword bamboo shoot, sticky rice, takenoko gohan, takenoko okowa
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