Welcome spring with this healthy dish of bamboo shoots and kinome leaves.
Spring has finally arrived, and what better way to usher in the warmer weather than with a light, seasonal dish of bamboo shoots soaked in dashi and garnished with kinome leaves?
While the dish is relatively easy to prepare, it’s worth noting that you’ll need to get started the day before you plan to serve it to your guests – the bamboo shoots need to soak overnight.
If you are unable to source kinome leaves, there’s no reason to panic. You can still enjoy the rich flavor of the soup combined with dried bonito flakes.
Ingredients (serves 2 – 3 people)
- 800 g bamboo shoots
- 400 ml – 500 ml dashi
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 3 tablespoons of sake
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of mirin
- 5 g – 10 g dried bonito flakes
- Kinome (the young leaves of Japanese pepper) as garnish
Begin by washing the bamboo shoots and scraping off the tough base. Slice off the tips and make a shallow incision the length of the section covered by skin. Next, place the bamboo shoots in a pot of water together with 2 handfuls of rice bran and 2 red peppers. Bring to the boil, then cover with a drop-lid (the instructions for which can be found here). Keep the pot on a low heat until the hardest parts of the bamboo soften. Take the pot off the heat and allow it to cool. Now rinse the bamboo shoots in a bowl of cold water and soak overnight to remove any unwanted earthiness.
The next morning, peel the husks and cut the bamboo shoots into 3 sections:
1. The top third of the each shoot should be sliced vertically into 4 equal pieces.
2. Slice the middle section into 2 pieces resembling half moons, 1 cm thick.
3. Cut the bottom section into quarter rounds, 1 cm thick.
Place the bamboo shoots and dashi soup into a pot, cover with a drop-lid and boil over a high heat. When it comes to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, sake, soy sauce, mirin and increase the heat to medium. Continue to simmer for about 45 minutes. Once the liquid has reduced to a level roughly 1 cm from the bottom of the pan, turn off the heat and remove the drop-lid. Add the dried bonito flakes and mix well so that the flakes completely cover the bamboo shoots.
Now for the garnish of kinome leaves. Here there’s a special technique: put each pinch of kinome on your palm and quickly clap your hands together before sprinkling the leaves over the bamboo shoots. This maximizes the kinome‘s fragrance.