Panfried parsnips and bamboo shoots

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panfried parsnips & bamboo jamjnr

Our addiction to fresh bamboo started in Tokyo. Up til then our only experience with bamboo had been of the canned variety which always had a rather revolting smell which strangely enough never stopped me from using it in stir fries.

In Tokyo, restaurants would showcase the new season shoots in a myriad of ways and it wasn’t until we ate it roasted with carrots and potatoes that I realised you could do something other than throw it into a wok.

It’s brief appearance in the supermarket each winter would mean I’d cook with it maybe a couple of times a week – roasted, panfried and even popped onto a pizza. Ask Richard what his favourite vegetable is and he would probably say bamboo shoot – which even I think is just a little bit on the weird side.

panfried parsnips & bamboo jamjnr

Now of course fresh bamboo is pretty much everywhere I shop, but only during the colder months. My veg lady at the wet market will peel the bamboo for me which I love because she leaves it whole and just passes the heart over to me. If I bring them home unpeeled I always cut them in half first then peel off the outer layers which I’m sure would be frowned upon.

panfried parsnips & bamboo jamjnr

A couple of weeks back we had some of Richard’s colleagues and their significant others over for a Sunday roast. ‘We’ decided it would be a nice idea to do an Aussie roast which meant lamb and all the veggies.

‘We’ of course don’t realise that doing a roast dinner for eight people involves quite a lot of work – especially when baby roast potatoes are requested and it’s decreed that each person would eat at least ten of them. It took ‘us’ the best part of an hour just to scrub and clean those 80-ish spuds.

panfried parsnips & bamboo jamjnr

As well as the slow roasted lamb ‘we’ served thyme and maple syrup carrots, a rocket, pear and parmesan salad and these panfried parsnips & bamboo shoots. Inspired by Leah’s Buttered Parsnips over at Sharing the Food We Love this has become our ‘side veg’ of choice. I’ve might have eaten the whole lot below after taking the photo.

panfried parsnips & bamboo jamjnr

The slightly bitter and crunchy shoots are a perfect foil for the sweet caramelised parsnips. It’s a great combo and one I came too accidentally but it works. When you’re juggling a lot of pots and pans in the kitchen and trying to get everything out to the table at once, this will sit happily on the stove minding it’s own business on a low heat just gently frying away.

Of course Richard couldn’t help himself and asked the guys at the table what their favourite part of the meal was. And of course they all said the roast potatoes and of course Richard took the credit for ‘making’ them because the only part of the ‘we’ cooking that he did was squash them before they were anointed with olive oil and salt and by the time that happened he had well and truly exited the kitchen….

panfried parsnips & bamboo jamjnr

In any case, there wasn’t a spud left so I guess it was a successful Aussie roast and it ended up turning into a bit of a party. The next day I counted the empties- 7 wine, 1 champagne, 1 grappa and 1 dessert wine.

I got the last laugh because I didn’t have to go to work with a sore head and battle through the day. It only took a couple of hours to clean up the mess and then I got to lay down on the sofa and catch up on My Kitchen Rules…..

5.0 from 4 reviews
Panfried parsnips and bamboo
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An easy side dish for the stove stop if you don't want to roast veg in the oven
Cuisine: Vegetables
Serves: 1-2
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled
  • 2 bamboo shoots, cut in half and peeled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 15g butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut the parsnip and bamboo shoots into batons roughly the same size.
  2. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the parsnips. Cook for 5 minutes and add the bamboo.
  3. Cook for another 5 minutes and then tae off heat and drain.
  4. Heat a frying pan large enough to take the vegetables in one layer over a medium heat.
  5. Add butter and olive oil and when butter has melted, add the veg carefully so you don't get splattered!
  6. Cook until golden brown and nicely caramelised.

Spring is allegedly on it’s way. I’m wishing it here sooner rather than later even though I know it’s only a matter of weeks until the bamboo disappears until autumn again. I’ll just have to put up with watermelon and pomelo in the meantime. Now, where is that sun????

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  1. says

    Sounds like the party was a success! Who wouldn’t love roast potatoes, but like you said, it is a bit of work for so many. Unfortunately, here we’re stuck with canned bamboo, and like you, even though it smells weird, I still use it! I do like the look of the fresh though. Roasted or on fried parsnip is a favourite. I can eat the whole lot myself. They look incredibly delicious!

    • says

      It was a good night although I think a nice casserole or tagine would have a lot easier to do! Next time I’m doing normal roast spuds!! If you ever see fresh bamboo shoots I recommend you trying them.

  2. says

    When I lived in Florida I grew bamboo and one day after the 300th shoot I’d kicked over because I didn’t need it, I realized I could eat them! Nothing is like kicking one over and bringing it into the house and cooking it.

    • says

      I know I’ve never done them panfried until I saw Leah’s recipe and now I do them like this all the time – saves turning the oven on.

  3. Eha says

    What an interesting combo! I really love the taste of parsnips but have never put them together with bamboo and am not certain whether I can access fresh! Personally would try steaming the vegetables but that is ‘my way’ :) !!

    • says

      I’m sure I’ve seen them in the Asian supermarkets in Melbourne. And yes, steaming is better for you but sometimes I just need a bit of fried action in my belly :)

  4. says

    It certainly sounds like a very successful dinner party. And what a great Aussie feast. And all those potatoes! They must have been good. I’ve never seen bamboo in any other way than in a can and I’m quite sure I’ve only eaten it in a stir-fry. I’d love to try this with the parsnips as I love parsnips and this looks like a great way to cook them. I agree with you about the smell of the canned shoots! xx

    • says

      Canned bamboos are quite revolting and now I’ve had the fresh ones I won’t be going back. I wonder what makes them smell so bad?! Can’t be good for you!

  5. says

    I wish I had known that the fresh stuff was so different from the tinned! That’s all I’ve ever had and it is indeed foul so I was never tempted to try the fresh. I’ll be looking out for it next time I’m at the grocery store. It looks absolutely wonderful!