Braised Bamboo Shoots with Bell Pepper
Until recently, Americans could only experience this member of the grass family as a commercially canned product. But now that farmers in the Pacific Northwest – and even here in Missouri – are growing bamboo, we can finally experience the difference in tenderness and delicate artichoke heart-esque flavor that fresh bamboo shoots lend.
Use it: Once the outer leaves are peeled away, the tasty inner leaves can be cut and boiled for 20 minutes for use in salads, soups, stir-fries and braises. Try marinating bamboo shoots in a combination of rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce, or pickling them for a charcuterie plate. Whole, unpeeled shoots can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Buy it: Ozark Forest Mushrooms booth at Schlafly Farmers Market, 314.531.9935, ozarkforest.com
6 canes fresh bamboo shoots (about 2 cups when peeled and cut into slices)
½ cup vegetable stock
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. rice wine
1 tsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
Half of a medium red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed and sliced
Half of a medium yellow bell pepper, seeded, stemmed and sliced
2 Thai chile peppers, seeded, stemmed and minced
Sesame oil to finish
Rice for serving
• To prepare the bamboo: Peel away the outer leaves until the pale-colored inner layers are exposed. Trim away any fibrous tissue at the base. Slice each shoot in half lengthwise, then in half again, so you have 4 long strips for each shoot. Cut each strip into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
• In a small bowl, combine the stock, soy sauce, rice wine and brown sugar. Set sauce aside.
• In a wok, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Add the ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the bamboo shoots, bell pepper slices and Thai chile peppers and stir-fry for 1 minute longer.
• Add the sauce mixture to the wok and cook, stirring frequently, until the bamboo shoots have softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drizzle with sesame oil.
• Serve with rice.