Whenever I go to an ethnic grocery store, I like to walk up and down the aisles to see all the exotic things they have on the shelves. The last time I shopped in an Oriental market a bag of dried bamboo shoots jumped into my basket and asked to come home with me. It sounded like a good idea, however, after one attempt at cooking with them the bag ended up in the back of my pantry. The problem was that the dried shoots took a long time to reconstitute and cook, and I'm more of a spur-of-the-moment cooker.
Monday night when I was looking in the pantry for something else I came across the bag, and decided to use them as my inspiration ingredient for Tuesday's dinner. Having learned from my last experience, I dumped the bamboo shoots in a plastic container and covered them with water to let them soak. Tuesday morning I searched the Internet for appropriate recipes. Nothing jumped out at me, but I did find some handy information about cooking the shoots at Viet World Kitchen. I got busy and it was after lunch before I resumed my search for a dinner recipe. When I couldn't find anything I liked I decided to come up with my own concoction.
Even after a lengthy soaking it took two hours for the bamboo shoots to cook. During the first hour they simmered in water, then I drained them, waited for them to cool off, and cut them into pieces. In the second hour of cooking I added vegetable broth. At the end of the cooking time the shoots were soft, but not very flavorful, so I threw in some dry soup base, chopped onions and garlic, and reconstituted dry mushrooms (with their soaking liquid), and let everything simmer some more. Twenty minutes before it was time to eat I put in some chopped colored peppers, and fifteen minutes after that I added chopped spinach and avocado.
It's not the prettiest dish I've ever made, but it tasted good, and after all the flavors melded together tonight's leftovers tasted even better.
Five years ago today: It Might Be....