Bamboo Shoot And Squid Flavored With Green Leaf - Bud Miso

Bamboo shoot and squid flavored with green leaf-bud misoBamboo shoots that herald the arrival of spring can please the palate in many ways.
“We dig them up before dawn so the skin doesn’t get tough under sunlight,” says Shuzo Ueno, 79, a doyen of the Osaka culinary world.

Freshness counts most when enjoying bamboo shoots. Preferably, they should be bought in the morning to minimize the time they are exposed to air and boiled right away to keep the bitterness in check. Ueno values locally produced ingredients, including “Kotsumi-takenoko,” white and juicy bamboo shoots produced in Kaizuka, Osaka Prefecture. His green leaf-bud miso enhances the flavor of spring.

The key to Osaka cuisine is the "dashi" stock. At home, Ueno keeps kelp broth in two-liter plastic bottles in the refrigerator. When making stock, “Never boil it. Remove the kelp midway and strain the stock,” he says. It may be stored in the fridge for about a week.

Ueno began training when he was 16. He even attended his own wedding after preparing the banquet. He eventually opened his own restaurant in Osaka’s Minami district. At the renowned establishment in the quaint Hozenji-yokocho, guests may witness the cooking process over the counter.

“We want to show that we cook cleanly, using proper ingredients. We serve right away. It is also about being true to ourselves,” says Ueno of this style.

Although he retired from being a chef about 10 years ago, he frequents the markets in Osaka and cooks all meals for his 77-year-old wife and himself.

Ueno was born in Kawachinagano, Osaka Prefecture, in 1935. After training at a long-standing catering restaurant in Osaka, he went independent at age 30. He ran Naniwa Kappo Kigawa and Tenjinzaka Ueno but closed the latter in 2004. He now works to revive the traditional vegetables of Osaka and writes essays on food. He has published numerous books.


Serves four:

1 bamboo shoot (500-600 grams)

1 squid

1/2 bunch spinach

50 grams white miso

1 egg yolk

Some leaf bud (kinome)

50 grams dried kelp

50 grams dried bonito shavings (hana-gatsuo type)


Immerse kelp in 1.8 liter of water overnight. Heat and simmer. Remove kelp before boiling point, add bonito shavings and strain.

Add egg yolk to miso, thin with 1 to 2 Tbsp sake. Add 1 Tbsp sugar and mix over low heat. Cool. Boil spinach with salt water, immerse in water and squeeze water out. Chop and grind. Remove spinach from mortar. Grind leaf bud, add egg-miso mixture and color with spinach mash.

Cut off tip of bamboo shoot at an angle, make a vertical incision and cook for about an hour in hot water with a handful of rice polishing powder (kome-nuka) and two chili pepper pods. Cool in pot. Remove skin, rinse, cut into appropriate size and cook for about 15 minutes in 2 cups of the kelp-bonito stock, 2 Tbsp each of sake and light-colored soy sauce and bit of sweet mirin sake.

Rinse squid, cut into 3-cm dices with skin. Pour flavored stock from above in another pot and cook squid until 70 percent done.

Serve bamboo shoot and squid. Thin leaf-bud miso with flavored stock and pour on top.