Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Bamboo - Part 1 of 2

I've always enjoyed eating bamboo shoots since I was a kid.  They have a nice crunch to them which, unlike most other vegetables, isn't lost when cooked.  They are also usually found in canned form in supermarkets, which makes them good vegetables to use when fresh vegetables are in shorter supply.  I remember how my mom would, usually due to lack of time, create simpler dishes for dinner on weeknights, and sometimes that involved using cans of bamboo shoots.  One of those dishes I remember well is Bamboo, Preserved Vegetable & Beef Stir-Fry.
I opt for winter bamboo shoots instead of regular bamboo shoots since the winter shoots are milder in flavour.  This dish is an example of family-style Chinese cuisine, and it's a quick and easy dish to make.  It also features what's known on packages as "preserved vegetable", which is basically a form of mustard preserved in chili-based paste.  Having a different crunch than bamboo shoots, there's a spicy and sour edge to preserved vegetable, and canned versions tend to be quite salty and need to be prepared to be more palatable.

Bamboo, Preserved Vegetable & Beef Stir-Fry
1-2 winter bamboo shoot halves (~1/2 a can)
140-170g (1/2 a 340g can or two [2] 70g packages) shredded preserved vegetable
~200g flank steak
Light & dark soy sauces
Ground pepper
Corn starch
Cooking wine
Vegetable oil
  1. If canned preserved vegetable is used, rinse thoroughly to remove excess paste and salt.  Set aside.
  2. Julienne the bamboo shoots across the grain in up to ~5cm lengths.  Set aside.
  3. Slice beef thinly across the grain and place in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add sugar (~15mL), corn starch (~10mL), a dash of ground pepper, a trickle of vegetable oil, a couple of splashes of cooking wine and a trickle of dark soy sauce to the beef and mix thoroughly and evenly.  Let marinate for at least 10 minutes.
  5. Heat wok over medium-high heat, then add oil to wok.  Stir-fry beef until at least half-cooked, then add preserved vegetable and bamboo shoots.  Continue stir-frying over medium-high heat, closing lid occasionally to allow for the cooking of the ingredients.
  6. If necessary, add light soy sauce and/or pepper to taste, remove from heat and serve.

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