We know spring is here when fresh bamboo shoots start popping up from the ground. In keeping with the traditional Japanese concept of enjoying food during its peak season, why not try this tasty and easy version of bamboo rice to celebrate spring, the season of renewal. I know I am ready for spring….aren’t you?!
My very first blog posting two years ago was a bamboo shoot recipe, and so is today’s. This is one of my favorite mixed rice recipes. And if you can’t buy fresh bamboo shoots, this can still be delicious using precooked peeled and or canned bamboo shoots.
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Bamboo Shoot, Chicken, and Fried Tofu Rice
- 1 piece of abura-age (fried tofu)
- 7 ozs. fresh*, precooked peeled or canned bamboo shoots, thinly sliced
- 3 ½ ozs. chicken breast, skinned and cubed
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ cup dashi (fish stock)
- 3 tablespoons low-salt soy sauce, or to taste
- 4 tablespoons sake
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups Japanese white rice, washed and drained
- 1 piece of kelp, wiped with a damp cloth
Before starting, immerse the fried tofu in hot water for 10 minutes to get rid of the oil. Squeeze out excess water and slice into strips. If using canned bamboo shoots, boil for a minute or two and then rinse.
Sauté the cubed chicken and fried tofu in oil. Add the sliced bamboo shoots, dashi stock, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of sake. Cook until all the liquid evaporates, roughly 10 minutes. Set aside.
Place the rice in an electric rice cooker or large saucepan. Add the remaining soy sauce and sake, and salt. Place the piece of kelp on top. Add water and cook according to rice cooker directions or, if using a saucepan, until the water is fully absorbed. When the rice is done, remove kelp, add the chicken and vegetables and stir well. Cover and let sit a further 10 minutes before serving.
Place in rice bowls and top with a generous amount of dried seaweed. Serve immediately. Clam soup makes a nice accompaniment.
*If using canned or precooked peeled bamboo shoots, drain and rinse them thoroughly in cold water before preparation. If the shoots are fresh, cut off the hard bottom part and boil them in their husks – water left over from washing rice or rice bran is best for this – with a dried red pepper for about one and a half hours to remove bitterness. Let cool, then peel off the husks. Wash well in cold water and continue with recipe preparation.
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