Monday, August 4, 2008
Stewed Bamboo Shoots
Bamboo Shoots are edible young shoots that come out of some species of the bamboo plant. In my family, we always say that we are eating what the Pandas are eating. Though I think it is incorrect. The type of bamboos that the pandas eat are not the shoots but the stems and leaves of the bamboo plants - which are more fibrous and tougher to chew.
Here in the Philippines, we often cook the fresh bamboo shoots (called Labong) in coconut cream. Bamboo shoots are good and healthy food. They are a good source of potassium and fiber. After all, if a panda can grow as big as they are through eating bamboos alone, then it must truly be good food!
The bamboo shoots featured today are the dried or dehydrated variety you can get from any Chinese or Asian grocery. It is not the fresh or canned ones. Fresh bamboo shoots are readily available in markets and groceries here in the Philippines. I am not sure though if dried bamboo shoots are readily available here except in Chinatown. I got mine from my mother-in-law who just came back from a trip to China...
Actually, the fresh bamboo shoots are tastier, and more tender. But you have to consume them immediately. They do not keep well. The dried bamboo shoots can keep... well, almost for a long time. However, to cook them, you have to rehydrate them for quite a long time (in my opinion). Their color and texture is also different now, darker, crunchier. My mother-in-law says she like them this way...
To rehydrate, get some, around 2 handfuls of dried bamboo shoots and wash them well. Soak them in water overnight. The following day, drain the water and soak them in boiling water. Do this draining-soaking in boiling water once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once at night. The bamboo shoots will expand. The next following day, if you want softer bamboo shoots, drain and soak them again in boiling water in the morning. By noon, they are ready to be cooked.
around 2 C rehydrated bamboo shoots
4 slices ginger
several cloves of garlic
4 T cooking oil
1/4 C dried oysters, rehydrated by soaking in hot water for half a day
250 gms sliced or cubed pork
1/2 C soy sauce
1 T white rice vinegar
1/4 t cracked black peppercorns
1 T sugar (optional)
1. Saute the ginger in a hot wok with the oil until golden brown and fragrant. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant as well.
2. Add in the dried oysters and the pork. Stir fry for a while until pork changes color. Add in the bamboo shoots. Add in the soy sauce, vinegar and the sugar. Add in the cracked peppers. You may also add some water if you want more sauce.
3. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 and 1/2 hours to 2 hours. Alternately, you can use a slow cooker.
This is my entry to the Weekend Herb Blogging, a world-wide food event that features herbs and unusual plant ingredients around the world and the dishes we cook with them. Weekend Herb Blogging was started by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. This week's host is Divya of Dil Se. To see last week's interesting round-up, please check out Kelly of Sounding my Barbaric Gulp.
For some interesting trivia:
Do you know that the bamboo symbolizes longevity for the Chinese? It is therefore good to have bamboo plants in your garden or even inside your house.
There is a Philippine myth related to bamboo. The local creation story or folklore says that the first man (Malakas) and the first woman (Maganda) each emerged from split bamboo stems on an island created after the battle of the elemental forces (Sky and Ocean).
I just realized, that this is my 100th post! Wow! 100 recipes. And I'm still learning. Please do leave comments, criticisms, violent reactions so that I can improve this blog. What would you like to see more of?