All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Hikozuri / bamboo shoot saute with sweetened miso

A regional specialty of Kumamoto in southern Japan. A small amount of ground sesame seed is the secret ingredient in the miso sauce.


1 small or 1/2 medium (100-150 g) takenoko no mizuni boiled bamboo shoot (140 g in photo)
1/2-1 taka no tsume red chili pepper (slices in photo)

For sweetened miso sauce

1/2 tbsp miso
1 tbsp sake
1/2 tbsp mirin
1/2-1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds

1 tbsp sesame oil (for sauteing takenoko; not in photo)


In a small bowl, mix miso, sake and mirin well. 

Grind sesame seeds, and add to miso mixture.
Mix well, and set aside.


Cut takenoko lengthwise in half, then crosswise in half to divide softer upper part and tougher lower part.
Slice top part lengthwise and lower part crosswise, both 5mm thick.


In a frying pan, heat sesame oil.

Saute takenoko on medium high heat.

When coated with oil, add red chili pepper, and continue sauteing for several minutes until takenoko surface starts to lightly brown.


Pour sweetened miso mixture, stir well, and cook until liquid is almost gone. 

Ready to serve.

  • Takenoko toward the bottom is much denser and tougher than the top part. Slicing the lower part crosswise cuts the fibers and makes it easy to eat. The soft upper part does not need this treatment and is usually cut lengthwise, partly so there is an interesting sphere shape in your bowl.
  • Red chili pepper is optional. Sansho powder is a nice alternative.
  • Sesame seeds are also optional but highly recommended. If you have surigoma ground sesame seeds, 1/2 tsp would be enough.
  • If available, add or garnish with fresh kinome sansho Japanese pepper tree leaves. They give this dish an outstanding aroma. If you use fresh sansho, skip the red chili pepper in the sweetened miso sauce.
  • The sweetness of the sauce comes from mirin. Mirin has a lingering soft sweetness with a light aftertaste. If not available, sugar will work (slightly less than 1/2 tbsp).

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