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Gathering: A Good Taste

Photography Philippe Jarrigeon Text Christine Muhlke

It’s low in calories and fat, and high in potassium and fiber; most important, it possesses a distinctively tender, cornlike flavour. Bamboo has long been a staple in asian cuisines, but who do you know who cooks with it?

The time has come for us to (literally) step up to the plate, so we asked a range of chefs in the U.S and France to share their favourite bamboo recipes. Part of the fun of making these dishes is that shopping for them requires going to a local Asian market–an adventure in itself.

Enjoy your bambusa vulgaris.

Striped Bass “Au Bambou”; Cellophane Noodle and Wood Ear Mushroom; Spice Bamboo Broth

From Eric Ripert at Le Bernadin, New York

The Bamboo Broth

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3 Tablespoons canola oil
4 Cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
½ Cup thinly sliced fresh ginger
2 Small shallots, sliced
¾ Cup Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqeuer, or any brandy
1 8-ounce can bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained
2 Ounces dried black mushrooms (wood ear), rehydrated in warm water and drained
5 Cups chicken stock
½ Bunch cilantro
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

The Garnish

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1 Ounce dried black mushrooms (wood ear), rehydrated in warm water and drained
8 Ounces bean thread vermicelli, soaked in water and drained
4 Ounces fresh bamboo shoots, sliced (may substitute canned)
2 Tablespoons thiny sliced fresh chives
2 Tablespoons cilantro, jullienned

The Striped Bass

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6 Six-ounce striped bass fillets
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Make the Broth

Heat canola oil in a large casserole over moderate heat; add garlic, ginger and shallots and sweat gently. When vegetables are soft, deglaze with the Domaine de Canton or brandy.

Add the bamboo shoots, black mushrooms and chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let simmer until the flavors come together, about 20 minutes. Remove the broth from heat and add the cilantro. Let infuse for about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and strain through a fine mesh sieve.

Prepare the Garnish

While the bamboo broth is simmering, julienne half of the black mushrooms and cut vermicelli into 4-inch pieces. Preheat the oven to 450° F.

Cook the bass

Season the striped bass fillets on both sides with fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper and place the fish in a shallow roasting pan. Cover the striped bass with 1 cup of the bamboo broth and 1 cup of water and place in the oven. Cook the fish until a skewer can easily be inserted into the fish and feels warm to the touch after 30 seconds, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the whole black mushrooms, the julienned mushroom, vermicelli, bamboo shoots and chives to a medium sauce pot and cover with the rest of the broth. Bring to a simmer.

Plate the vermicelli with the mushroom into 6 large bowls, place a piece of striped bass on top of the vermicelli and garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Clay-Pot Rice with Charred Bamboo and Sake

From Andrea Reusing At Lantern in ChapeL HiLL, N.C., Author of “Cooking in the Moment”
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1 Quart water
2 Pieces Kombu (dried kelp)
Cups loosely packed bonito flakes (about 4–5 of the small cellophane bags)
Kosher salt
1 Piece prepared whole bamboo (vacuum-packed, refrigerated, 8 ounces)
½ Cup sake
2 Cups sushi rice, washed several times until water runs clear, drained for 30 minutes
3 Ounces raw Shimeji mushrooms

Make the Dashi

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the water and the kombu to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add the bonito flakes. Let steep for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and season very generously with salt.

Char the Bamboo

Cut the bamboo into quarters lengthwise and rinse and blot dry. Over an open gas flame or under a broiler set on high, char the bamboo until it is lightly blackened on all sides. Rinse lightly and drain. Slice into thin, bite-size pieces.

Cook the Rice

In a flame-proof clay pot or casserole, bring 2 cups of the dashi and the sake to a boil along with the rice. Immediately reduce heat so that the broth is at a bare simmer. Gently stir in the bamboo and lay the mushrooms on top. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and allow it to sit, covered, for 10 minutes.

Serve the rice in the pot at the table with a prepared condiment like 7-spice powder or ume-shiso furikake (plum and herbs seasoning, available through Amazon.com or at Japanese markets). Roasted sesame seeds, crumbled nori and a thinly sliced fried egg are also quite nice. Serves 6 as a side dish.

Bamboo Shoot Salad with Duck Liver Tatsoi and Chili Vinaigrette

From Tien Ho, Executive Chef, Má Pêche in New York

This dish is a reinterpretation of a rich salad of duck,poached egg and greens. Here we use duck livers and the flavors of Southeast Asia. In Vietnamese cuisine, bamboo is often associated with duck, so in this dish we combine bamboo with duck and another ingredient that is often associated with duck: hoisin.

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1 pound duck livers
1 teaspoon white vinegar
4 eggs
cup canola oil
2 cups chili vinaigrette (recipe below)
¼ cup pickled bamboo shoots (recipe below)
¼ cup tatsoi, cleaned and leaves only
¼ cup croutons (recipe below)
½ cup black pepper vinaigrette (recipe below)
¼ cup seasoned bamboo shoots (recipe at right)

The seasoned bamboo shoots and the pickled bamboo shoots can be made the day before. Vinaigrettes and croutons should be made the day you plan to serve them.

Making the Dish

  1. Clean the duck livers by removing the veins and membranes. Pat dry and set aside.
  2. Bring a small pot of water with some vin- egar to a boil and poach the eggs for 6 minutes. Remove gently with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Heat the canola oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Season the livers with salt and pepper and sear on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Add the chili vinaigrette to the pan, turn off the heat and set aside. Baste the livers with the chili vinaigrette off the flame and keep warm.
  4. Remove the pickled bamboo from its pickling juice and reserve.
  5. In a mixing bowl, toss the tatsoi with the croutons and black pepper vinaigrette.
  6. To serve: Place the livers and some of their sauce in the center of each of 4 bowls. Top with a poached egg and arrange the two types of bamboo around them. Place the dressed tatsoi on top. Serve immediately. Serves 4 as an appetizer.

Chili Viniagrette

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½ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chili bean paste
¼ cup shaoxing wine
½ cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons black vinegar
2 tablespoons plum paste
2 tablespoons water

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the water and the kombu to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add the bonito flakes. Let steep for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and season very generously with salt.

Black Pepper Viniagrette

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¾ cup sherry vinegar
¾ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly ground
black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar

Mix all ingredients together well. Reserve.

Croutons

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3 slices country or white bread, crusts removed
6 ounces unsalted butter
¼ cup olive oil

Dice the bread and cook in butter and olive oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat until golden brown. Remove from pan, place on paper towel and reserve.

Pickled Bamboo

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1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup bamboo shoots cooked, cut into strips

Bring the vinegar, water and sugar to a boil. Pour over the bamboo and let sit overnight.

Seasoned Bamboo

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1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup bamboo shoots cooked, cut into strips

Season the bamboo with salt and sugar. Reserve.

Chicken in Bamboo Leaves

From Thierry Marx, Culinary Director of Mandarin Oriental Paris and Chef of Sur Mesure Par Thierry Marx in Paris
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1 egg white
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon white porto wine
1 tablespoon Xerès vinegar
1 pound chicken (uncooked), thinly sliced
ounces fresh bamboo shoots (you may also use precooked vacuum-packed)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 small red chili pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon green peppercorns
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon sugar
3 bamboo leaves (available from a florist; ask for nonsprayed)
1 tablespoon cooked sticky rice
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (170° C). In a large bowl, combine egg white, cornstarch, Porto and vinegar. Add chicken and marinate, refrigerated, several hours or overnight.
  2. If using fresh bamboo, boil bamboo shoots in a small pot filled with water to cover for 30 minutes. Let cool, then peel and slice thinly.
  3. In a large, heavy skillet, heat oil over high heat until simmering. Stir-fry the chicken and chili pepper for 2 minutes and set aside.
  4. In a wok or large skillet over high heat, stir-fry bamboo shoots, chicken and green peppercorns for 2 to 3 minutes. Add salt and sugar and set aside.
  5. On a work surface, lay bamboo leaves alongside each other. Spread the precooked sticky rice in the middle and top with chicken meat and its juices. Roll into a maki shape and place on baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes. When warm enough to handle, slice into 2-inch pieces and serve. Serves 4.
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