I have two friend who lives on a river. They have miles of fields and meadows, forests, and bamboo. The bamboo is one of my favorite parts. There is a winding path that cuts through the bamboo forests. Whenever I visit my friends, we always walk through the bamboo, making sure to knock down any baby bamboo sprouts, so the path does not become overgrown and disappear.
On top of the beautiful views and amazing aspects of her country-like residence, one of my friends owns chickens. About 20, in fact. And more recently, she has acquired a group of 6 or so chicks. On my last visit, we all made sure to pick up the baby bamboo to bring back to the chicks, because, as the chicks’ owner told me, the bamboo is a delicacy that they love to eat. I was a little surprised that the chicks actually eat bamboo, and my friend surprised me further by telling me that she, too, had eaten bamboo before. I don’t know why I was so shocked, but I had just never thought about people eating the tall, slender plant.
So I decided to try it. Not raw, of course, but cooked. I took about 5 baby stalks (1 inch wide at bottom, 6-7 inches tall). When bamboo is just sprouting, it is encased in an outer layer, similar to corn. And that’s how my friend (not the chick owner) and I undertook the challenge of cooking it: by comparing the bamboo to corn. The two really are similar, both in the process and taste.
Like corn, we shucked the bamboo until we reached the bottom layers (very light green, almost white or yellow). The very bottom of each stalk was a darker, lime green, because it was more developed. But it all tasted good. After shucking, we boiled a pot of water (medium pot, enough to accomodate our amount of bamboo plus plenty of extra space, like corn!). We adding salt and some of olive oil. Once boiled, we put the bamboo in and turned the heat down to low. Then we covered the pot (like corn!) and cooked it for 8-10 minutes. After it was done, we buttered the stalks (don’t be shy in this step if you want the bamboo to have great flavor), cut them into smaller pieces, let them cool slightly, and tried our first bamboo. It was DELICIOUS!
It is sort of hard to describe…it actually did, believe it or not, have a corn-like taste. I also decided that there was a slight onion flavor. These are just part-observations, and even if you don’t like corn or onions, TRY THIS FOOD. It is really yummy. The texture is my favorite part, I think. It has layers (hey-like an onion!) that you can peel and eat if you desire, but I just bit into mine. It wasn’t chewy or hard. It was soft, but not too squishy. It did have a nice crunch. Ok, to sum that up: soft with a crunch.
I almost forgot to get a picture, and this is what was left when I finally did remember. Luckily my friend had a camera close at hand. I wish it was better, but it’s better than nothing!