Seeing pandas chewing on bamboos during our recent trip to the San Diego Zoo reminded me of edible bamboo shoots, an ingredient I have not used in a while. Bamboo shoots are young sprouts harvested for food. They are crisp, tender, and similar in texture to asparagus. Their flavor is akin to that of corn. Canned bamboo shoots are easily available and packaged ones can sometimes be found at the refrigerated section of many Asian markets. Fresh bamboo shoots are harder to come by and are only available at select stores in early summer.
Last week I was thrilled to find freshly boiled bamboo shoots at one of the Asian markets I frequent here in the Twin Cities. They were all huge but I managed to get one that weighed roughly a pound, perfect for this Stir Fry Chicken Bamboo Shoots in Black Bean Sauce. Please use canned bamboo shoots if you cannot find freshly boiled ones. The thicker variety is preferable to the thinner shoots as they have a milder scent and a crunchier texture.
One of the best flavorings for bamboo shoots is fermented black beans. These are actually soybeans fermented with salt and are an umami powerhouse. They are usually paired with other strong seasonings like garlic, ginger, and chilies to give it an even greater depth of flavor. Fermented black beans usually come packaged in small plastic bags. They should be rinsed prior to use to remove some of that salty flavor. For convenience, seasoned black beans in jars may be used instead.
- 15 oz (425g) boneless, skinless, chicken breast, thinly sliced
- 1 parboiled or 1 can (12 oz/340g) bamboo shoot
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-inch knob ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 tbsp fermented black beans, rinsed, drained, and minced
- 1 red chili, seeds removed and minced
- 4 Chinese mushrooms, rehydrated, stems removed, and thinly sliced
- ½ salt (or to taste)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Shao Hsing rice wine
- 1 tsp corn starch
- Combine chicken with soy sauce, rice wine, and corn starch in a bowl. Allow chicken to marinade in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Boil bamboo shoot for 10 minutes. Remove and drain. When cool enough to handle, cut into thin slices.
- Heat up wok or large fry pan. Once wok is heated, add vegetable oil. Stir fry minced garlic, ginger, fermented black beans, and red chili for 2 minutes.
- Add marinated chicken, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots. Stir to get ingredients well mixed. Add ¼ cup (60ml) water. Continue to stir for about 5 minutes until chicken and mushrooms are cooked through.
- Black beans are salty. Add salt only if needed.
- Turn off stove. Drizzle sesame oil over the chicken. Remove and serve immediately with steamed rice.
This Stir Fry Chicken Bamboo Shoots in Black Bean Sauce has a bold umami flavor that is best served with a steaming bowl of white rice. Do give it a try.
With Lin Lin at the San Diego Zoo…..
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!