Asian Style Cattail Shoots

If any vegetable–wild or otherwise–comes closeto bamboo shoots in the Great Lakes bioregion, it’s cat tail shoots. Their flavor, shape and growth habit are reminiscent of the common bamboo shoot, but with their own special something’s of their own. Whilst picking some nice tall shoots I was inspired to create this recipe, and it was a winner. Cattail shoots are best when between 1 and 3 feet tall, depending on their location. Pull close to their base and pop them off their root. Peel off all of the fibrous outer layers until you reveal the tender inner core. I bend and nibble sections to find those that are most tender…

Asian Style Cattail Shoots

What You Need:

  • 10 ~2 foot cattail shoots, peeled–about 2 cups
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 scallion
  • a couple sprigs cilantro, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp dried cayenne/hot pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • drizzle of soy sauce or tamari
  • drizzle of sesame oil
  • drizzle of maple syrup
  • drizzle of rice wine vinegar


  • Peel cattail shoots. Chop into 2 inch segments and cut lengthwise.
  • Fill a sauce pan with one inch of water and put it onto the boil. Set up your steamer basket inside and pop on a lid.
  • In a skillet, heat the sunflower oil on medium heat. Once hot, add the pepper flakes, garlic, and ginger.
  • Sizzle the pepper flakes, garlic, and ginger until the garlic just starts to turn golden brown and remove the pan from the heat. Immediately stir in the sesame seeds.
  • Set the cattail shoots in the steamer and cover. Allow to steam for 30 seconds to 1 minute checking often to make sure it doesn’t over cook. Once they’re heated through, quickly remove and add to the skillet.
  • Into the skillet drizzle the soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup, and rice vinegar. Stir everything together and taste. Adjust soy/sesame/maple syrup/rice vinegar to taste/
  • Serve immediately with the freshly chopped cilantro. Chopsticks optional!

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