I needed a vegetable side dish to go with my twice-cooked pork. I wanted something with spice, color and crunch. I had some daikon radish, red bell pepper and green onions left over from another meal that would add the color. I only needed some chili garlic sauce to add the spice and some giant bamboo for the crunch.
Stir-frying involves cooking at a very high temperature and tossing the food so that it cooks evenly. You are not supposed to stir constantly. The idea is to get some sear on the vegetables, but to mix it up so that no one side of any piece is in constant contact with the hot surface.
Stir-frying is an all consuming process and once you start the cooking you do not have time to stop and measure sauces or cut vegetables. Always prep all of the ingredients and have them laid out like you were doing a cooking show. If you get in the habit of doing this, then stir-frying becomes a relaxed tossing in of the next ingredient rather than a struggle to prep the next item before the first is over cooked.
Like many Americans, when a recipe called for bamboo shoots I would buy a small can and toss it in. I had seen fresh giant bamboo in the Asian markets, but it was a bit intimidating—looking more like a rhino horn than a vegetable. I finally bought one as an experiment. It is a lot like peeling an onion. I removed thick hard layer after thick hard layer until I was left with only the tapering core. A quick trim of the dried out bottom and the rest is easily sliced into bite sized planks (2 x ½ x ¼ inch). You could eat it raw in a salad or lightly cook it. It has a smooth texture, a crisp crunch and a mild flavor. Once you have tried it you will wonder why you ever bought the woody things they put in the cans, because they are certainly not bamboo shoots.
Karl’s Spicy Bamboo and Daikon Stir-fry
2 Tbs. chili garlic sauce
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp. ginger, minced
½ tsp. sugar
1 fresh giant bamboo shoot
6 inch piece of daikon radish
2 cloves garlic
1 small red bell pepper
3-4 green onions
1 Tbs. peanut oil
1. Measure the first 5 ingredients, put them in a small cup and set it aside.
2. Remove the tough outer layers of the bamboo and cut it into planks. Set the pieces in a pile on a large plate.
3. Peel and plank the daikon radish and make a second pile on the plate.
4. Cut the garlic into slices and pile it on the plate.
5. Core, seed and plank the red pepper and pile it on the plate.
6. Trim the green onions and cut them into two inch pieces. Add the white parts to the daikon pile and the green parts to the red pepper pile on the plate.
7. Put the peanut oil into a skillet or wok and bring it up to a high temperature. Add the bamboo and toss the vegetables about every 30 seconds for two minutes. Do not stir constantly.
8. Add the daikon pile to the pan and continue stir-frying for two minutes.
9. Add the garlic and continue stir-frying for one minute.
10. Add the red pepper pile and continue stir-frying for one minute.
11. Pull the vegetables to the sides of the pan and pour the sauce mixture into the open space. Mix the sauce together for about ten seconds and then toss the vegetables to coat them with the sauce.
12. Remove to a bowl and serve immediately.