Friday, August 5, 2016

All about Tender Edible Bamboo Shoots (Keerlu).

Mitta ghallele Keerlu / Brined Tender Bamboo Shoots and Finely Chopped Neeli (top edge of the Bamboo Shoots) ......... Go ahead and follow the steps and procedure of brining ...... its very easy if they are available in your vicinity ..... 

Writing or explaining about Keerlu / bamboo shoots is a little bit difficult task. I hope I am able to explain the same in simple manner to all of you. But I am sure the pictures I have added will do justice if not my writing, and you will get the gist of it as to the preparation of the same. I am not sure if it is available everywhere in India. But in southern parts of India this is available on the onset of monsoon period. But brined / canned one’s are available outside India in plenty and the same can also can be used in curries if fresh one’s are not available for brining and using later on. It sure will make your work easier. But I brine my own keerlu / bamboo shoots, so here are the details.

Keerlu or Bamboo Shoots are edible and can be cooked and consumed when they are tender. Keerlu is the konkani name for Bamboo shoots. Bamboo shoots though are still abundantly available during Monsoon, they are now actually banned from being sold. We have been enjoying this from childhood and luckily to date I am able to get it here in Mumbai to prepare the same. Bamboo shoots can be brined ie. preserved in salt water, which then can be used for years. There is a difference in taste from fresh to brined ones. The fresh once are a little bit bitter and smell more and not liked by many people. Keerlu / Bamboo shoots is something that one has to develop a taste for slowly and gradually. 

There are many dishes prepared using keerlu / bamboo. These are added to other vegetable or pulses and made into a curry. Semi dry curry or sannapolos are also prepared by the same. Even bajias are prepared. Ambado / fritters is another item that is prepared using keerlu / bamboo shoots. I blogged in so many dishes in this blog to date, you can check up on the same tagging for Bamboo shoots.

The outer peel which is thorny and stiff comes off easily and is not edible. It has to be discarded. For the fresh bamboo shoots to be used for consumption they should be soaked in water for 3-5 days changing the water frequently or every day. In olden days they used to put all the the keerlu / bamboo shoots in ghoni cheela / gunny bags, fasten the opening and immerse it into the well for a few days.

During my childhood at my parents place we had a small cement tank where my Mom used to store some emergency water. She used to drop these keerlu / Bambo shoots during season in them for a few days, discard the water daily and then use them in preparing dishes. This proceedure was followed to remove the bitterness in fresh keerlu / bamboo shoots. They can then be added on in the preparation of dosas, pickles, sannapolos, sukke, gashi, koddel etc.

The topmost tip pieces are also chopped off finely. When the covers are remove the tip ie top most conical part deep within is very tender / tarne in Konkani and is called “Neeli”. So from keerlu / bamboo shoots the top most tender part which is chopped to fine pieces is neeli used in preparation of ~ Sukke a semi spicy dry curry or Sannapolo as spiced dosa served for lunch. Fritters / Ambado is also prepared from the same. I am adding in enough pictures of the Keerlu / Bamboo Shoots and the chopped Neeli ….. for all of you to be able to understand the procedure of both cutting and brining of these. If I have left over anything or you are still unable to understand, please drop in a line of comment, or pass on a message so that I can help you out with the same. 

Peel of the outer keerlu / bamboo shoot covers which are whitish-reddish black in colour. They will come off like covers easily. These covers are to be discarded. Reach out to the inner tender part that can be cut easily with knife. That part which is easy to cut is the edible part of the keerlu / Bamboo shoots. Now cut these into 3 inch length pieces horizontally and then into 4 pieces vertically. Put them in water if you want to use them within a day or two only or else do not let the bamboo shoots touch any water if they are to be brined. 

For using the bamboo shoot pieces immediately in a day or few days put them in water and keep covered aside, till you need to use. Change water every 12 hours. But this procedure should be followed only if to be consumed within few days. Otherwise, the keerlu / bamboo shoots will get spoilt. 

If to be brined you have to add them to salt water and store them away in sterilized bottles. The amount of water to be added to the keerlu / bamboo shoots depends upon the number of keerlu / bamboo shoot pieces. The pieces should be covered about an inch above it with salt water. 

Also the salt water should be prepared by first boiling required amount of water and then the salt should be added in the ratio of 2:1 ie. Water 2 parts and salt 1 part and boiled till it completely dissolves. The water should be cooled completely, strained for impurities and then added along with the pieces into a sterilized glass or ceramic bottles and stored away from sunlight. It can be used within a month’s time till they are finished off. They have a long shelf life, though with time, they may turn brownish but they are still edible and can be consumed. The picture above is of two years old Brined Keerlu / Bamboo Shoots.

For cooking the keerlu / bamboo shoots, just remove them from salt water and put them in water and keep changing water every few hours till excess salt has been removed from the same. The keerlu / bamboo shoots whether brined or fresh should be put in pressure cooker with just about enough water to cook and pressure cook to one whistle. Allow the pressure to fall on its own, when cool enough open the pressure cooker lid and remove the cooked keerlu / bamboo shoots and add them on to the curry of your choice. You can go to search option and search for bamboo shoots / keerlu and you will get lots of recipes that I blogged using this particular item. Do check in for the same and enjoy preparing them and relishing with family and friends. You can also used canned bamboo shoots for the curries but I have to date never tasted them, nor used them, so I cannot vouch for the same in taste of texture or the outcome of the curry.


  1. Wonderful article. Can u tell me how we preserve jackfruit internals which we called uppad rachir. I remember dad from mulki saying that they used to brine jackfruit skin and center portion. Thanks.

  2. A comprehensive guide to preparation and brining of Keerlu.Brined foods are getting focus these days as probiotics in their role to improve gut health.