Sliced canned bamboo shoots
#100daysofcooking, Recipes

Bamboozled: On Day 36, we shoot, we score, we go back for more


Ground Pork with Bamboo Shoots


On Chowhound.com, there is a thread titled “Canned bamboo challenge” which starts: “I try to be good about using up cans of food that I need to open for any given recipe, but today I’ve failed. I find myself faced with half a can of shredded bamboo and no idea what to use it in.”

Hallelujah, sister. I have been feeling your pain.

I can’t imagine making hot-and-sour soup without bamboo shoots, but I’ve never needed the whole can and never worried much about throwing out the remainder. But here I am, devoted to 100 days of using the food in my kitchen and a Tupperware container of bamboo shoots in the refrigerator.

I started poking around The Google, during which I stumbled upon this delightful cooking video with an irresistible description:

“This bamboo shoots recipe is a Chinese dish called 竹筍炒肉末.”

Naturally, I googled the term “竹筍炒肉末” (who wouldn’t?) and found many Chinese webpages, some of which could be (painfully) translated into English. This one promised to help me make “Bamboo shoots fried minced meat.”

Or, as we’ll refer to it from this point onwards: “Bamboo Shoots with Ground Pork.”

I thought it might be fun to use the translated instructions, then immediately changed my mind after getting stumped by step one.

“Will be pulled into filamentous Gui bamboo shoots, cut into small pieces like, into the hot boiling water, boil for about 1 minute, over the water and then wrung the water reserve.”

Thank you, Google Translation. As if 100 days of cooking and blogging wasn’t difficult enough.

Bamboo shoots with ground pork
Bamboo shoots with ground pork

Cooking this particular dish, however, was a piece of cake and the final flavour far surpassed my expectations. I was steeled for disappointment given the lack of visual appeal promised by white bamboo shoots combined with white-ish ground pork served with brown-ish rice.

In fact, by following this food.com recipe , we turned around a dish that was easily the best homemade Chinese take-out to have come out of this kitchen. Staying true to the Chinese food tradition, Dan and I both went back for second helpings.

You know — eats shoots and leaves, then we went for more. (If you are a Lynn Truss fan, you’re welcome.)

竹筍炒肉末! You should give it a shoot.

Er, shot.

Kitchen castoffs used

Bamboo shoots, plus 1/2 of a jalapeño pepper that was gifted to me for the project by my friend Helen

Bamboo shoots with ground pork
Bamboo shoots with ground pork

This is how we did it

Ingredients

  • Canned bamboo shoots, sliced (you could use the whole can or, like me, use what was leftover)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 chili pepper (or 1/2 jalapeño pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp hot chili flakes
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 2 tsp sherry cooking wine, or Shao Xing rice wine
  • 3 tsp soy sauce, or tamari
  • 3 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 green onions, sliced (only the green part)
  • 2 – 3 tbsp chicken stock or water
  • 1 – 2 tsp sesame oil
  • Peanut or vegetable oil for cooking
  • Salt

Method

Rinse and drain the bamboo shoots. I also cut each one in half, lengthwise, making thinner strips.

In a wok or non-stick frying plan, heat a small amount of oil, then stir-fry the bamboo shoots until they are dry and fragrant. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Cook the garlic and chilis for a few minutes, then add the ground pork and stir, breaking up, until cooked. Drain the excess fat away from the dish. I added a couple of splashes of cooking wine to the cooking pork, once before draining and once after.

Stir in the bamboo shoots and cook, stirring, until heated.

Add in the tamari / soy sauce and vinegar and stir to mix, then add the chicken stock or water, which will help the bamboo shoots soak up the flavour. Mix in the green onions, then drizzle with some sesame oil and serve.


Curious about my “Kitchen Castoffs” concept? Here’s the explainer describing my 100-day project.

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