Bamboo’s pandemic choices: leaf tea and muli cookies


Known as King of forest greens, the meals functions of bamboo stay least explored, however the pandemic supplied time to develop recipes utilizing bamboo shoots and leaves


Large swathes of Neriamangalam forests within the hills of Idukki are awash with golden bamboo blossoms. This uncommon phenomenon happens as soon as in a human lifetime, between 40 to 50 years, and is commonly related to oncoming famine. By March, whole groves within the vary will die forsaking tons of bamboo rice, which is gathered, saved and eaten by tribals as survival meals.

Final yr the uncommon phenomena had occurred within the forests of Wayanad and Tony Paul, CEO and Trustee of NGO Uravu, says the tribal hamlets within the space would have saved at the least two to 3 tons of bamboo rice. “Folks rush to purchase bamboo rice, as it’s extremely nutritious and has medicinal properties. Now a superfood, bamboo rice just isn’t cultivated or farmed. It’s a pure phenomenon and therefore its manufacturing is proscribed. The worth ranges from ₹500 to 1000 per kg,” says Tony including that bamboo as meals is least explored as its different functions are commercially extra viable.

However the pandemic supplied time for experimentation and new recipes have been developed.

Bamboo’s pandemic offerings: leaf tea and muli cookies

“We utilized the lockdown to make bamboo cookies,” says Abhinab Kant, head of Bamboo and Cane Growth Institute(BCDI) in Agartala, Tripura. Made utilizing Muli bamboo (Melocanna Baccifera), a spread that contains 80 % of the bamboo plantations within the State, the biscuits are made with bamboo shoots. Abhinab talks concerning the organising of a industrial bakery in the course of the lock down to provide cookies. This was an incubation exercise of their organisation, NECTAR (North East Centre of Expertise, Software and Analysis). “Bamboo shoots are harvested when they’re nonetheless tender and delicate; no exhausting fibres are fashioned but. These are boiled and floor to a paste, which is added to wheat flour. It’s cookies fortified with bamboo paste.”. He additionally speaks of canning bamboo shoots, for the primary time within the nation.

Abhinab factors out that bamboo shoots are seasonal and develop between the months of Might to September. All bamboo shoots hitherto out there in India are imported, both from China, Vietnam or different Southeast Asian nations. He’s now overseeing the organising of a bamboo shoot canning centre and is optimistic that, by center of 2022, bamboo shoots canned in Tripura shall be out there available in the market. “It is crucial that the bamboo shoot is on the market around the yr. We’re avoiding the addition of any synthetic preservatives,” he says. Bamboo pickle made with shoots is one other widespread product, in response to him.

Throughout the identical time, Shree sisters, Akshya and Dhwani of Silpakarman, created a bamboo leaves tea beneath their New Delhi-based firm, Tad Udyog Pvt Restricted. The model was launched on-line in December 2021, and in shops in Bengaluru. “Although now we have been researching the product for a number of years, it was in 2020 that we efficiently created the mix.” “Bamboo leaf may be very wealthy in Silica and kinds a part of the brew.Describing a fancy technique of gathering 9 forms of bamboo leaves, washing and solar drying them, she says “it’s all achieved manually. The mix is a mixture of these leaves in equal proportions.” The sisters engaged migrant labourers who had returned dwelling to Tripura in the course of the lock all the way down to pluck, dry, sift and roll the leaves to make granules. “Our core enterprise is to make handicrafts and utility objects with bamboo. Now we have been researching on bamboo leaves tea and developed it beneath steering from specialists at IIM Bengaluru and IIT Guwahati. The migrants weren’t expert at making handicrafts; so we have been in a position to make use of them thus and convey out the primary patented mix,” says Akshya. Known as Be You Tea, the leaves are packed in paper and positioned in a bamboo bag. A 50gm pack is priced at ₹449. The tea will be had each hot and cold, with milk or black. “As it’s a wealthy supply of Silica, which is nice for hair pores and skin and bones, many add the brew to flour whereas making chappatis or bread,” she says.

In the meantime in Udaipur, Gomati district, Tripura, bamboo technologist Samir Jamatia too used the time to experiment with bamboo leaf tea, cookies, ice cream and in greens “like it’s utilized in Southeast Asian delicacies.”

Bamboo rice

One of many widespread conventional by-products of bamboo is the seed, which is used as rice. “For generations now we have eaten bamboo rice in its most pristine approach by steaming it. It’s accompanied both by a chutney or a meat dish” says Samir. Abhinab additionally factors out that the restricted provide is purpose why bamboo rice is dear and used primarily by the communities who inhabit the forest. Akshaya agrees: “As soon as the bamboo flowers, that species dies. It has very excessive demand in pharmaceutical corporations for experiments on its dietary worth.” She provides that tribes consider that consuming it powers the physique with diet for an entire yr. It is usually a part of their folklore, she says.

In keeping with her, every time bamboo rice is gathered within the jungles, it’s divided equally among the many communities of the realm. “A candy dish with bamboo rice is a should however it’s not made with milk, as in Kerala the place bamboo rice payasam is widespread. Within the North-East it’s sweetened with fruits or greens.

Additionally Learn:Tribal communities harvest bamboo rice

Prescilla Zinyu, an natural merchandise entrepreneur from Nagaland, says that the bamboo rice custom is nearly misplaced because it was eaten throughout a famine, which is now not widespread. “Bamboo rice was thought of a survival meals. Now that famines and wars are fortuitously unusual, the brand new technology doesn’t know a lot about it.” She sources it from Kerala, which she says is seeing a revival.

Bamboo’s pandemic offerings: leaf tea and muli cookies

Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar, who based Edible Archives to revive misplaced rice strains of India and showcases the vary of indigenous rice varieties, first encountered bamboo rice whereas on a trek within the jungles of Eravikulam in Idukki, Kerala. She steamed it and ate it together with sambar. On one other event, she had it with pork curry cooked with dalle, a pointy chilli from Sikkim. “The rice has a fragile flavour and it may be mixed with one thing sturdy however not “masaledaar” or too spicy. This rice is exclusive in type, form and style. I’d not prefer it to be popularized and made gimmicky,” she says.

Uravu, which participates yearly on the annual Bamboo Fest in Ernakulam held by the Kerala Bamboo Mission, showcases a bunch of utility merchandise and handicrafts, and a sought-after “payasam” counter. “Bamboo payasam is made utilizing rice, milk and jaggery,” says Tony, who speaks of a parallel market that sells fake bamboo rice. Samir agrees that a variety of the bamboo rice available in the market is synthetic. Because the rice itself is proscribed, it’s reserved for experiments by practitioners of other medicines.

Everybody invested in bamboo shares tales of the distinctive join the tribals have with the grass. Tony says he was stunned on the closeness tribes really feel on the dying of a bamboo. “A tribesman spoke concerning the lack of a bamboo because the dying of a household elder, of the way it had supplied them with shelter and means to outlive. Even in its dying, it has left them with meals,” he says, including that bamboo shoot known as the king of forest greens.



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