I put together this little stir-fried dish to explore the Chili Bamboo Shoots I featured in a recent ‘Foodstuffs’ post. This product, comprising shredded bamboo preserved in oil with a touch of chili has a lovely fermented richness that makes for a terrific condiment but also works well cooked with stronger tasting meats like lamb or beef. I am using beef in this experiment and have kept the ingredient list fairly simple so that, if you give it a try, you can get to really experience the preserved bamboo flavor…
- 1/2lb. Beefsteak, cut into matchstick shreds;
- ½ cup preserved Bamboo Shoots with Chili;
- ½ cup red Bell Pepper, cut into slivers;
- ½ cup Green Onions (green part only), in two inch shreds;
- 1 tbsp. Soy sauce;
- 1 tsp. White Pepper;
- Peanut Oil (or other neutral cooking oil)
At another time, I may have been tempted to use shreds of red chili pepper rather than the mild bell pepper called for here, but I want to keep the flavors simple to showcase the bamboo. Feel free to substitute something more fiery, if you prefer.
Mix the beef shreds with the soy sauce, white pepper and 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
The beef will be cooked in two steps in order to achieve the right texture and consistency for a ‘dry-fried’ dish. First, heat a cup of oil in your wok over high heat and then fry the shreds in two batches until they are brown and just staring to crisp. Remove them to a bowl as they are cooked, allowing as much oil as possible to drain back into the wok.
Now remove all bit two tablespoons of oil from the wok and bring it back to the smoking point. Add the beef shreds and cook, stirring from time to time, until they give up their moisture and become dry and chewy in texture. Depending on the heat of your wok and the moisture content of the beef, this will take a good 5 minutes or so.
When the beef is ready, add the bell pepper and the bamboo shoots and stir-fry until the pepper is softened. Add the green onion shreds, toss for a few more moments and then plate for service immediately.
The taste of this was excellent. It may not suit everyone’s fancy but the combination of the preserved bamboo shoots with the other ingredients is something I really enjoy. There were a couple of flaws in the execution and the first was that I forgot to allow for the oil in the bamboo shoots. You will want to adjust for this if you give this dish a try. The other problem was a technical one in that I spent so much time in photographing the process that I allowed the beef to get a little too crispy (although in many interpretations this is preferable). Naturally, that was more a blogging problem rather than a strict culinary one so you shouldn’t have the problem yourself if you follow the steps above. Anyway… I liked this very much and will be making it for my wife when she returns from far away…