I’ve noticed a lot of people find my blog by searching for bamboo shoot recipes. This year, I wanted to develop a new recipe to add to the list and to make something other than bamboo-rice with the shoot I bought. My temporary roommate mentioned that she had seen a bamboo and kabocha curry at a festival over the weekend, and–the game is on!
Based on my Internet research, bamboo with Thai green curry seems to be a popular combination, but green curry paste is not very easy to find outside the import stores here. However, most of the bigger supermarkets in the area carry cans of coconut milk, so I decided to use that as the base, found a recipe as a guide (linked below), and used what we had in the fridge (lotus root, kabocha, soy beans, and bamboo) to make a fusion curry. I knew the Japanese ingredients would go well together, but the sweetness of the tender kabocha and creamy coconut combined with the punchy spices and earthy, crispy lotus root and soft beans make the dish pop.
This curry is vegan and can be gluten-free if gluten-free tomato paste and fresh ingredients are used. Prepare the soy beans* and bamboo shoots ahead of time—both freeze well, too.
Japan notes: Coriander powder and red pepper are available in the spice section of large supermarkets; dried red chilis are in the produce section, often with the garlic. Tomato paste is usually with the canned tomatoes.
Bamboo Coconut Curry with Kabocha, Lotus Root, and Soy Beans
Adapted from Sadhana Ginde’s “Bamboo Shoot Curry,” Bella Online
Time: ~60 minutes (including chopping)
2 TSBP olive oil (orîbu oiru, オリーブオイル)
1 large onion, finely diced (tamanegi, タナネギ)
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced (ninniku, ニンニク)
2 cm (1 in.) piece of ginger, grated (shôga, ショウガ, 生姜)
1 dried red chili, finely minced (aka togarashi, 赤唐辛子)
250 g (8.8 oz) kabocha (カボチャ, 南瓜)
130 g (4.6) lotus root (renkon, レンコン, 蓮根)
1 tsp turmeric (tâmerikku, ターメリック)
1/2 tsp paprika (papurika, パプリカ)
1 tsp cumin (kumin, クミン)
1 tsp ground coriander (coriandâ, コリアンダー)
1 tsp garam masala (garamu masara, ガラムマサラ)
1/4- 1/2 tsp red pepper (to taste) (reddo peppâ, レッドペッパー)
Salt, to taste (shio, 塩)
100 g (3.5 oz) fresh or preserved bamboo shoots
150 g (5.3 oz) cooked soy beans (daizu, ダイズ)
1 large tomato, finely chopped (katto tomato, カットトマト)
2 TBSP tomato paste (tomato pêsuto, トマトペースト)
400 mL (13.5 fl. oz/1 can) coconut milk (kokonattsu miruku, ココナッツミルク)
1 large, deep skillet
1. Peel and chop the kabocha, lotus root, and bamboo. The kabocha should be into very small cubes to insure quick cooking. Chop the lotus root into thin rounds and then cut into bite-sized pieces. Julienne the bamboo to show off its shape, then cut into bite-sized pieces.
2. Mix all the spices together in a small dish and set aside.
3. Heat the oil on medium flame. Add the onions; sauté until slightly browned.
4. Add the ginger, garlic, and red chili. Stir fry for about 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
5. Add the kabocha, lotus root, and spice mixture. Stir well to incorporate and continue to stir fry until the kabocha is tender (~10 minutes, depending on size of the kabocha pieces).
6. When the kabocha is tender, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, soy beans, and bamboo shoots.
7. Add the coconut milk slowly; reduce the heat to low and let the curry gently simmer for another 4-5 minutes.
8. Serve with rice or naan. This goes well with Japanese brown rice, but if you have your hands on Basmati, that would be excellent, too.
*In Japan, precooked soy beans (suini daizu, 水煮大豆) are available in most grocery stores and are usually kept near tofu and produce. The dried variety are with the other dried beans.
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