Japanese recipes: rice with bamboo shoots (Takenoko Gohan)
May is traditionally the best time of the year for fresh young bamboo shoots, and this dish is at its best in Japan at this time. Freshly harvested bamboo shoots are soft and may be used as is for cooking. Assuming that you don’t live next to a bamboo patch, the bamboo shoots that you buy at the supermarket will need to be boiled before using in cooking. Follow the boiling direction provided. Of course, you can eliminate this process if you use the canned or prepackaged variety.
INGREDIENTS FOR RICE WITH BAMBOO SHOOTS
Serves 4 as an accompaniment to other dishes):
- 7 ounces (200 g) bamboo shoot
- 1 deep-fried tofu pouch (abura-age), rinsed in boiling water and cut into thin strips
- 1 cup dashi broth
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 plus 2 tablespoons sake
- 1 – 1/2 cups short-grain rice, rinsed (reserve rinse water if boiling bamboo shoot)
- 2 – 2/3 cups water
- Buds of shanso pepper (kinome) for garnish, OR watercressm shiso leaves, basil, or parsley
HOW TO PREPARE RICE WITH BAMBOO SHOOTS
Remove two or three of the outermost layers of the shoot and cut off two inches from the tip. Make a deep cut lenghtwise along one side of the bamboo shoot to its center. This will enable easy removal of the outer layers after boiling. Immerse the shoots in water saved from washing rice and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 40 to 50 minutes, or until tender. When cool, remove the skin and allow the shoot to soak in clear water. Unpeeled, boiled shoots can keep in the refrigerator for three to four days in water changer daily.
In a saucepan, simmer the bamboo shoots and tofu pouch pieces in dashi broth, soy sauce, sugar, and 3 tablespoons of sake and bring to a boil. If you’re using an automatic rice cooker, add the cooker bamboo shoots and tofu pouch pieces to the rice from the beginning.
Lay the cooked bamboo shoots and tofu pouchs pieces on top of the rice without mixing and continue cooking. When the rice is done, mix and sprinkle with buds of sansho pepper.
Source: “Japanese Family-Style Recipes” by Hiroko Urakami – Kodansha