Tag Archives: recipes

Fermented Bamboo Shoots

fresh bamboo shootsFermented foods contain beneficial bacteria that promote balance of intestinal flora. And they taste good. As a recent convert to fermenting, my next step in that adventure is fermented bamboo shoots. I’m just waiting for the bamboo to shoot.

The north-east of India, with the largest stock and diversity of bamboos in India, also has many different ways of preparing fermented bamboo shoots. Traditional methods of fermentation are often supplemented with more convenient materials.

fermentation, fermented bamboo shoots Mesu
Bamboo shoots are finely chopped and pressed into a green bamboo stem. The openings are covered tightly with bamboo leaves. Left to ferment under natural anaerobic conditions for 7-10 days. Eaten as a pickle.

Soibum
Thin slices of bamboo shoots are packed into a chamber, covered with plastic sheets and pressed with weights. The bottom of the chamber is perforated to allow for draining before being left to ferment for 6-12 months.

Soidon
Entire tips of bamboo shoots are submerged in water in an earthen pot. Liquid from a previous batch is used as a starter. Leaves from garcinia pedunculata (an acidic tropical fruit related to purple mangosteen) are often added for extra flavour. Soidon is eaten as a curry or a pickle.

fermentation, fermented bamboo shootsEkung
Chopped bamboo shoots are packed into bamboo baskets, covered with leaves and sealed. Heavy stones are used to press excess water from the ferment. The baskets are buried in a pit in the forest. Ekung is fermented for 1-3 months. Eaten raw or with cooked dishes.

Eup
Dry fermented bamboo shoots are prepared in a similar manner to Ekung. After the fermentation process, the bamboo shoots are dried in the sun for 5 – 10 days. Eup is eaten as a side dish.

The information here only covers broad methods of fermenting bamboo shoots in India. I’ll post again when I find the simple recipes I want try. Do you have any you’d like to share? In the meantime, I can highly recommend books on fermentation by Sandor Katz. There are heaps of other books about fermenting on Amazon and eBay, as well as a good range of fermenting crocks, to save you the trouble of digging a hole.

References:

Bamboo shoot recipe – Naga fish and bamboo shoot curry

bamboo shootsThe bamboo shooting is nearly over here. After the initial monsoonal surge, the weather has settled into a pattern of showers rather than tropical downpours.  Here is the second of Liya‘s Primal and Paleo-friendly bamboo shoot recipes, for the last bamboo shoots of the season.

Bamboo shoot is one of the underrated ingredients which add sparkles to Indian dishes yet remain least used in most parts of India. However, inhabitants of north east India, especially the Nagas, have developed a special love for this exotic ingredient. No wonder you’ll hardly come across a Naga curry or chutney without bamboo shoots in them and their fish curry is not an exception as well.

Every Naga household has their own secret recipe to cook this classic dish but all these versions are unified by one dominant ingredient – bamboo shoots or ‘bastenga’ as they are called in Nagamese. The tender, delicate essence of the bamboo shoots receives a zesty complement of the Indian spices, thus making the dish shine. But it’s the pungent aroma of the mustard oil which ties up the flavours together and adds an amazing depth to the dish. But don’t let the long list of ingredients freak you out! This dish is unassumingly simple to cook and could be the ideal choice when you are busy or too lazy to spend hours in the kitchen. Simply cook all the ingredients together and you are ready to enjoy a flavoursome curry for your dinner.

bamboo shoot recipeNaga fish and bamboo shoot curry

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients:

For the curry:

  • 1 kg Rohu or any white fish, cut into medium pieces
  • 1 cup fresh bamboo shoots, shredded (you may also substitute it with canned bamboo shoots)
  • 1 cup shallots, finely chopped
  • 2-3 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 garlic pod, cloves separated, peeled and crushed
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 5 green chillies, halved longitudinally
  • 500 ml water
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp Mustard oil

To marinate:

  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • Coconut oil, to shallow fry

Method:

  • Add all the marinating ingredients into a large bowl and stir them all together to mix well.
  • Lay out the fish pieces into the bowl and rub the spice mixture all over the fish; set them aside for an hour to marinate.
  • Drizzle a lashing of vegetable oil into a skillet and heat it over moderate flame.
  • Place the fish onto the skillet and cook them, a couple of minutes per side, until they brown evenly on both sides; drain them out onto a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Heat the mustard oil in a casserole dish until its raw smell disappears.
  • Throw in the onion chunks and sauté for 5-10 minutes or until they caramelize.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and sprinkle the spices on top.
  • Stir them all together and throw in the bamboo shoots, followed by a splash of water.
  • Place a lid on top and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Continue to boil for 2-3 minutes and reduce it to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 10-15 minutes and lower the fried fish carefully into the simmering curry.
  • Scatter the chopped shallots on top and cook further for another 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
  • Remove from heat and let it rest, covered for another 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot with Cauliflower rice (or steamed white rice) and fresh salad.

The bamboo is shooting!

fresh bamboo shoots

Freshly harvested bamboo shoots

The onset of the monsoon has inspired the small bamboo to start shooting. Shoots are sprouting up within the grove and all through the lawn metres from the grove. Apparently, a good way to control bamboo is to eat it.

For the variety of bamboo being harvested here, I found the optimum size of the shoots to be about 20 cm high. Any smaller and the yield is a mere mouthful. Any larger and the shoots start to get a bit fibrous.

fresh bamboo shoots

The inner heart of the shoots

There are some helpful instructions for peeling and cutting the shoots in this short YouTube vid posted by Suburban Foragers.

The inner heart of the bamboo should be soaked, or boiled, or both, depending on who is telling the story. I do not have the definitive answer on this. Some folk say the soaking and/or boiling is to remove the bitter taste and some say it is to remove the hydrocyanic acid present in some varieties of bamboo.

The Life with Bamboo hybrid method

Even though the bamboo I’m using is not bitter when raw, I opted for a just-in-case method and soaked AND boiled the shoots. The shoots were soaked overnight in water, and then boiled for 20 minutes. Bamboo shoots will keep for up to two weeks covered in the water in the fridge. Change the water daily. Or freeze the prepared shoots.

The first batch of shoots that I harvested, were just dropped into a butter chicken dish near the end of cooking. As a vegetable, the shoots were delightfully crisp and tender. Nutritionally, they are good source of dietary fibre, potassium, and some other minerals.

The dogs love them too, raw, if I peel the outer leaves off for them. And the horses.

Soon I’ll post some bamboo shoot recipes. Do you have a favourite bamboo shoot recipe?