Bamboo shoots are called kirlu in konkani and are a favourite among Konkani's. Bamboo shoots are yummy and are used to prepare a variety of dishes. Bamboo shoots are used fresh or pickled to prepare a variety of dishes. The fresh tender bamboo remains crunchy even after cooking, whereas, the pickled bamboo shoots become soft over a long period of time.
Fresh bamboo shoots are available only in early rainy season. Tender bamboo shoots are chopped and sold in the market. Like many other vegetables, the outer layers the bamboo shoots have to be peeled, till we get the inner white, hard, edible portion.
Peel the outer layers until you get the hard inner core. Throw away the outer layers.
Slit the inner cores into two. These are ready to be used.
The tips of tender bamboo shoots, called suyi in Konkani:
These inner hard cores are further cut into pieces and used in cooking.
If your using fresh bamboo shoots for cooking without pickling them then the pieces should be kept in water for atleast three days. The water should be changed daily. After three days these pieces can be used in various dishes like keerla sukke/chakko (tender bamboo shoots side dish), kirla ambade ghashi (bamboo shoots in spicy coconut curry with Indian hog plum), kirla ghashi with mugu also called as muga gashi (bamboo shoots in spicy coconut curry with green gram).
Some people who taste fresh, cooked bamboo shoots for the first time may feel some unpleasant taste/smell. But proper handling before use, ie, washing and proper cooking removes the so called unpleasant taste.
Pickeled Bamboo Shoots: (Called as mitta ghalel kirlu in konkani)
Pickling Bamboo Shoots:
The outer layers of fresh, tender bamboo shoots are peeled as shown in pictures above.
The dry inner cores slit into two are added into a clean, dry air tight bottle/container along with a handful of rock salt, mixed and kept aside. This step helps the bamboo shoots take up salt and get pickled.
If you have lots of bamboo shoots, add 2-3 handfuls of rock salt. The more rock salt you add the better. Or else the bamboo shoots tend to get spoilt if there's not enough salt that removes the moisture and water content out of the bamboo shoots.
As time passes by, the salt dissolves and as the bamboo shoots take up salt they give out water and you have bamboo shoots floating in brine (salted water).
For the first 5-7 days give the bottle with pickled bamboo shoots a good shake few timea a day, so that all the bamboo shoots uniformly take up salt. Store the bottles with pickled bamboo shoots in a dry place.
This way the pickled bamboo shoots can be preserved for not only months but for years together.
Over time the pickled bamboo shoots look like this:
These bamboo shoots have been pickled for nearly two years. The colour of the bamboo shoots slowly turns from white to brown.
Using pickled bamboo shoots we prepare kirla sanna polo (spicy rice pancakes with bamboo shoots), keerla fry (crispy fries of bamboo shoots served as a side dish), keerla phodi (spicy deep fried bamboo shoot fritters) and suyi gashi (pickled bamboo shoots in a spicy coconut curry).
Suyi Gashi: A thick coconut based bamboo shoot curry
Suyi are the pointed ends of tender bamboo shoots. Fresh or pickled pointed ends of bamboo shoots are used to prepare suyi ghashi - bamboo shoots in a thick coconut gravy. Can also be called as kirla gashi.
You get a nice crunch if you use fresh bamboo shoots to prepare this curry. Even the pickled bamboo shoots in this curry are lovely to eat.
Pickeled tender bamboo shoots
1 medium sized onion
4-5 dried red chillies
2 tablespoons of tamarind
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 cup grated coconut
2 tablespoons of oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 leaflets of curry leaves
Salt to taste
Take out the pickled tender bamboo shoots out of the brine and prick them nicely all over with a knife so that they take up the all the flavours of the curry later when cooked in it.
Make them into thin or thick slices depending on how you like to eat them.
Add the slices into a vessel with bowling water and boil for 4-5 minutes, on a medium flame with the lid on. This process helps get rid of the yukky smell of bamboo, gets rid of the excess salt that the bamboo has absorbed and also cooks the bamboo shoots.
You could cook the bamboo shoots directly in the curry but I would advice cooking the bamboo shoots in water first and then discard the water the shoots have been cooked in (don't even use it in the curry) as it he spoils the taste of the curry later on with the stink and weird taste of bamboo. The cooked bamboo would be just right in terms of its taste, smell and the amount of saltiness it has.
The bamboo shoots even on pickling don't cook fully, they still have that crunch when you bite into them and thats how it should be. That's what makes eating bamboo a pleasure! Only if the bamboo has been pickled for more than 2 years, then the bamboo shoots must have gotten soft and lost that crunchiness they have.
After you cook the bamboo shoots, discard the water completely as it would contain all the salt that the bamboo shoot had absorbed during the pickling. Keep the cooked bamboo shoots aside.
Meanwhile prepare the masala:
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a tadka pan, add in the fenugreek seeds, corrainder seeds and red chillies broken into pieces. You could also dry roast the spices for few minutes until you get the anice roma of fried fenugreek, coriander seeds and the red chillies. Remove off heat and keep it aside to cool to room temperature.
Once it cools down grind it along with grated coconut and tamarind into a smooth paste. Keep this ground masala aside.
Finely chop the onions and fry them using oil in a frying pan until they get translucent.
Add the cooked bamboo shoot slices and the ground masala to it and mix well.
Add enough water to bring the curry to the desired consistency, take care that the curry isn't too thick or too watery.
Bring the curry to boil. Simmer for a few minutes until the rawness of the masala goes off and remove off heat.
Taste in the end and add salt if required. Any salt that's left out in the bamboo shoot slices would have got into the curry hence, add salt only if required.
Heat oil in a tadka pan, add mustard seeds and when they start to splutter add in curry leaves and fry them for few seconds.
Add this tempering to the curry and mix well.
Serve the curry hot with hot steaming rice.
For more Konkani cuisine curry recipes look here.
Tags: Kirlu, Bamboo shoot, Curry, Coconut curry, lunch, dinner, konkani cuisine, konkani recipe, keerlu, keerla randayi