Friday, July 18, 2008
A Bowl of Bamboo Pickle
The shoots waiting to be cut into thin slices
I come from a region whose terrain and climate nurtures
an ocean of bamboo. When you drive through the great,
wide plains of the north east, you see them in different
shades of green. And yellow too. With such abundance
the plant has myriad uses. Huts, furniture, bridges,
baskets--decorative and functional, the list is endless.
Without bamboo scaffolding, building highrises would be
difficult! In the hilly areas too, it's a sea of bamboo,
The shoot is either plain food or a delicacy, depending
on how it is prepared. The first shoots of the year appear
in late May and continue to sprout till late October. It's
fried with meat, mainly pork, mixed in curry, dried or fer-
mented. The fermented bamboo is made into pickle or used to
enhance the taste and flavour of meat and fish dishes.
To the uninitiated, the pungency of fermented bamboo is
something that whacks your sense of smell. Or to sound
euphemistic, the taste needs to be acquired.
The shoot has a pretty tough exterior. I use my sharpest
blade to hack away, taking care not to touch the fine
hairs. For that would be asking for itchiness, with a
capital "I"! But once that is done away with, the lovely
white vegetable is ready for the wok!
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