Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Spring = bamboo shoot

It is bamboo shoot season in China. With the arrival of spring come first bamboo shoots of the year. Bamboo shoots are new bamboo plants that have just started coming out of the ground. They are edible as long as you pick them before the first leaves start coming out. So if you let it grow bamboo shoot will eventually become a bamboo plant.

Bamboo shoots have many different sizes and shapes. But all need to be cleaned, sliced and cooked in plenty of water before eating, otherwise they taste bitter, I was told. So I did that. I cleaned, sliced and boiled them for about 30 minutes. And when done they were still a bit crispy and the taste was very mild. Kind of like asparagus but not watery. And what can you make with bamboo shoots if not quesadillas!

I made corn tortillas. The wonderful thing about living in an international city like Shanghai is that you can find special corn flour called Masa.
The easiest way to make tortillas is with a tortilla machine. No matter how you put the dough, it always comes out perfectly round. Mine tortilla machine has made it all the way from Mexico to China (it is called addiction).

When making corn tortillas it is important to get them inflated. And there is a trick for that! Put a tortilla in a very hot pan for a bout 10 seconds, or until it gets "skin" on the bottom. Then turn it around, and cook for 20 seconds. Then turn it around again and let it inflate. Late it cook for 10-15 seconds...done!

And what can I say, the perfect corn tortilla with melted cheese and slightly crispy bamboo shoots was wonderful!

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