Tofu with Bamboo Shoots

I know, I promised potato pancakes, but I have a small problem. I have a brand new Speedlite that I’m head over heels in love with, BUT I’m still having a hard time figuring out white balance with it, so all my potato pancake pictures are either bright blue or bright yellow except this one:

which still isn’t great. (Do you have any tips for me? I’d LOVE to hear them!!) I think I was so excited about carbs that got all crispy and fried and topped with kimchi that I didn’t really focus on taking pictures. Yes, I will be making them again!

I have something almost as good today, though. I found FRESH bamboo shoots at our local Asian grocery store. In case you’re wondering, they look like this, and they are SOOOO much better than the canned variety. Please don’t just take my word for it. If you can find them, I promise they’ll completely change your idea of bamboo shoots. The canned ones are just gross, but these have a delicate crunch and are so much fresher (obviously…)

The ingredients in this are pretty basic… It’s flavored with oyster sauce (I used a vegetarian version made with mushrooms) and garlic, and the Thai basil stirred in at the end adds a beautiful sweet and tangy flavor.

The best thing is it all comes together in under 10 minutes once your ingredients are prepped!

Recipe:
(adapted from Thai Cooking from the Siam Cuisine Restaurant)

serves 2

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb block extra firm tofu, pressed and diced
2 serrano chiles, quartered lengthwise
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 fresh bamboo shoot, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
pinch white pepper
2 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1 green onion, cut into 2″ lengths
20 Thai basil leaves

Heat a wide skillet over medium high and add the oil. Swirl to coat the bottom of the pan, then add the tofu cubes in a single layer and cook for a few minutes on each side, until golden. Remove and set aside.

Add the serranos, bell peppers, bamboo shoots, and white pepper to the pan and stir fry for about a minute, until the vegetables are slightly tender.

Add the sugar, oyster sauce, and tofu and stir fry an additional 3 minutes. Add the green onion and Thai basil and stir fry just until the leaves wilt. Serve with rice.

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5 comments to Tofu with Bamboo Shoots

  • Hey Cate! I received a Speedlite for Christmas and have enjoyed playing with it too! The white balance has been tricky so I know where you’re coming from. I set a custom white balance on the camera itself, and also bounce the flash off of a white umbrella since very few of the walls in our house are white and I wasn’t getting great results using the ceilings.

  • Hm…I’ve never had major white balance with the flash. It seems to me that it gives out white light. So if the white balance on your camera is set for something else, then your pictures might turn out a different color. The other problem would be if you’re bouncing the light off of a colored surface. For example, if I’m trying to take a photo of something on the stove, I have to be careful that the flash isn’t pointed toward the wooden cabinets, because that will make the photo look yellow.

    So, my advice is 1) make sure you have the flash pointed toward something white and 2) either put the camera on automatic white balance or set the manual white balance while using the flash.

  • I am very interested in those fresh bamboo shoots! I am quite sure I’ll never run across them where I live currently, even if I venture to the big city. Very interesting.

  • hm, i’ve never had bamboo shoots, i don’t even know if they sell them at grocery stores do they? probably whole foods or something.

  • I’ve never seen fresh bamboo shoots before but if I do I’m definitely trying this recipe!

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