Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bamboo Shoots

End of Spring in Brazil, the sun, the rain, the heat, the humidity bring new shoots of bamboo for our delight. It used to be my father´s job to harvest, to clean, to prepare, and even to cook the dish. I remember the last time he did it: he had kittens crawling on his shoulders as he worked. I tried to remember his steps, but failed on the important part, which was the preparation of the raw shoot into an edible one - to wash many times, boil with baking soda, to soak, and wash some more times. I rushed into cooking with basic Japaneses seasoning, so have it all very bitter to the point of burning my tongue. I read that cianidric acid can make us sick, but even some boiling would remove most of the acid. So later, I boiled in clean water, turned of the heat, and added a little bit of baking soda. Immediatly the water became dark browning yellow. I understood that it must the the reaction between acid and alcaline. I changed the water a few more times, tried a piece and it tasted while slightly bitter, but it definetely had some sweetness to it. It is almost like artichoke. Actually, the bottom of artichoke heart has the same texture as of bamboo shoot. The dish: I cut into thin strips the shoots, pork loin, ginger, green onions, and garlic. I stirred fry pork first with seasonings, removed it from the pan, and added a bit more peanut and sesame oil to fry the shoots. I seasoned them with a bit of sugar, soy sauce, and fish powder (Japanese seasoning). I returned the pork to the pan and let it combine for another minute. Voila. A quick Chinese dish eaten over rice. I will try some other recipes this week, as there are many shoots to be harvested and guests coming over to stay with us.

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