Eats shoots and leaves
Frankly, I used to think of bamboo more like an invasive grass that you can best use in interior decor. But a main food ingredient and a hero of my next meal? Who knew !! Until I went to this little place called ‘Bamboo Shoots’ that flaunts a catch line ‘Eat Like a Panda’ and serves all stuff in bamboo with a panache that’ll even please our cute furry beary friend.
While you can’t eat bamboo straight-up like pandas do, boiled, freshly sprouted bamboo shoots are absolutely delicious. No worries if you don’t happen to have a bamboo forest in your backyard – you can buy pre-sliced and pre boiled bamboo from your local Asian supermarket.
Stir Fried Bamboo Shoots with Pork
1 pound ground pork (Any protein can be used or you can omit the meat and just serve the bamboo shoots on their own)
1 tablespoon corn starch
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 fresh bamboo shoots, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
1-2 teaspoons sugar
- Mix pork, cornstarch and 3 tablespoons soy sauce. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large pan over high heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add pork mixture. Stir fry until no longer pink. Remove from pan.
- In same pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add bamboo shoots, turn heat to medium-high, and sauté for approximately 5 minutes. Add ginger, wine, 2 tablespoons soy sauce and sugar. Stir to coat bamboo.
- Return pork to pan. Cook together another 2 minutes or until heated through. Serve with rice and enjoy.
Wondering what can you do with the bamboo leaves? Well, wrap your Zong Zi!!
Zong Zi is sticky rice with filling encased in bamboo leaves.
5 cups glutinous rice
1/2 pound dried mung beans
20 dried chestnuts
1 tablespoon salt
1/8 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
10 dried black mushrooms, soaked with stems removed and caps sliced
20 bamboo leaves
1/2 pound pork belly, sliced
For Zong Zi filling:
- Soak glutinous rice, mung beans and chestnuts overnight in separate bowls. Drain.
- Stir-fry pork for a few minutes. Add chestnuts, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup rice wine, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 star anise and 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove pork and chestnuts from stew and set aside.
- Stir-fry mushrooms with a little liquid from pork stew.
To wrap Zong Zi
- Soak bamboo leaves in warm water for 5 minutes then wash in cold water.
- Take 2 leaves with leaf stem or spine facing out. Overlap them lengthwise in inverse directions (pointed end of one leaf facing the rounded end of the other).
- Hold leaves about 2/3rds of the way along their length. Bend them to make a pouch that you cup firmly in one hand.
- Scoop the rice into the bamboo leaves’ pouch. Scoop the filling onto the rice.
- Fold leaves over the open top of zongzi, then around to side until zongzi is firmly wrapped. Zongzi should be pyramid shaped with sharp edges and pointed ends. Trim off any excess leaf with scissors.
- Tie up zongzi tightly just like shoes laces with a double knot. Normally they are tied to a bunch of zongzi.
- Boil for 1 hour, unwrap and serve.
Edible, adj.: Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm. ~Ambrose Bierce