Country Cooking


Simple yet delicious, when rural cuisine is done right, it’s wonderfully satisfying.  No matter where one finds it, particularly as with today’s entry, in Cambodia.  Among the many such culinary discoveries that await there is Bamboo Shoots Soup with Pork.  This is included in the seemingly endless variety of recipes My Linh Nakry offers on her new web home, Cambodia Recipe.

The soup is quite direct, actually, containing just seven ingredients, total, one of which is water.  The pork and bamboo simmer in the water, to which pepper and a dash of fish sauce are added.  This lends it substance and a bit of a silky sheen, and turns the water into broth.  It all comes together rather quickly, in fact, with the journey to soup taking just a quarter of an hour.

Bamboo provides additional texture, and the plant, relatively mild by itself, soaks up the meaty broth that holds it.  In addition, cooking softens the usually-crisp shoots, making them almost into a noodle of sorts.  As you can see, the soup is loaded with bamboo, a fitting prominence for a grass so common throughout Cambodia, particularly in the countryside.

In fact, Nakry  accompanies her recipe with interesting facts, including that bamboo was so widespread in Cambodia, the ancient Khmer used to burn it, not wood, for cooking.  She also relays the charming story that, according to Buddhist legend, “angels” planted the first bamboo plants, hence a similar image in the moon.  OK…  Most Westerners see a “face” in the moon, but if bamboo surrounds you, perhaps that’s where the mind goes.

Whether or not it’s in the night sky, bamboo definitely belongs in today’s soup.  It’s among a few simple ingredients that come together quickly to turn water into a silky, satisfying meal.  A celebration of country know-how.

*****

Bamboo Shoots Soup with Pork

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 pound pork country ribs, sliced thinly
  • 1 pound bamboo shoots (*1)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (*2)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
  • 3 stalks scallions, sliced thinly

Pour the water in a large saucepan and place it over a high flame.  When the water boils, reduce the flame to medium and add the pork and bamboo shoots, stirring occasionally.  Cook until the pork is tender, about ten minutes.

Add the fish sauce, sugar and black pepper.  Stir until the sugar dissolves, about a minute.

Ladle into serving bowls and top with onions. (*3)

NOTES:

1 – The original recipe calls for the bamboo to be rinsed and sliced thinly.  Practical advice if you can find fresh bamboo, though the canned stuff is good too.

2 – Palm sugar likely is used in Cambodia, though a similar quantity of brown sugar is a suitable replacement.

3 – I also added thinly-sliced limes.  A nice taste, and they make for a better presentation, don’t you think?

 

19 thoughts on “Country Cooking

    1. Thanks, Mar! Oh yes, and cilantro!

      Can’t say I care much for parsley, but fortunately, cilantro is a superb replacement. Awesome on its own too, Isn’t it odd a disproportionate share of the meals I select feature cilantro? Funny how it works out that way.

      That probably is why Spanish and Latin American recipes are prominent on these pages, and will continue to be. Oh, and looking forward, even better things are ahead, both in terms of dishes, and of photography. So, please, keep reading. I hope you’ll be happy you did.

      Here’s to great comfort, discoveries and conversations in the years ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As mentioned, Mar, it’s so nice you’ve returned.

        There are a few entries planned I think you’ll appreciate. Sure, I selected them because they’re promising and I look forward to trying them, but I also hoped you’d return someday to see them, too.

        Now that you’re back, and posting on your own site too, I’ll have to see what else I may devise to interest you.

        Like

    1. Thanks, Crystal. Then again, limes are a great go-to, and they’re central to Southeast Asian and Latin American cooking, among others. They’re many a cook’s not-so-secret Secret Ingredient.

      Nearby in the citrus neighborhood, grated lemon zest is a spectacular flavor enhancer. At least as effective an agent as is MSG or salt, but it’s so much healthier too. Plus, that vibrant brightness!

      Like

      1. Just a little insight into how my brain works. My lips are suddenly puckering just thinking about a Meyer lemon. From there, I’m considering a new pen name, Bristol Myers. I realize that has nothing to do with Cambodian soup.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, but it does, Crystal! Limes, to lemons? Come on, there’s just, like, one degree of separation, and a minor one at that.

        Besides, isn’t that the way all human conversations go, at least the good ones – one subject leads to another, then to another?

        Hey, give that pen name one more layer of complexity, to wit, “Bristol Meyers.” Meyers (the lemons, that is, not your nom de plume) don’t inflict much puckering anyway, as they’re a wonderfully mild hybrid between lemons and mandarins. Vibrant without the pucker. One of my go-to, instant, substitutions. Shallots rise above onions, cilantro bests parsley, and Meyers beat the rinds off plain ol’ lemons. So it is written, so shall it be!

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      3. Brystal Meyers? Now you’re asking readers to parse six, seven, eight layers of complexity. Triple and quadruple entendres. I like it!

        As for cilantro, you nuance the comment admirably. You’d rather not discuss the greens. In so doing, are a we spared a Gloria!, or a Sam Kinison-style rant? I suppose we never will know.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Yummy, warm food in the winter is divine and scallions are a must in most any soup.

    I like the thought of angels planting the bamboo. Makes it that much better. Thank you for always adding the interesting tidbits.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No, JoAnn, thank you for taking interest!

      Oh, about bamboo, and given your home-state knowledge, does bamboo grow in Florida? I recall seeing what I thought to be a mini-grove in someone’s yard near the grandparents’ house in Port Orange (a little down the coast from Daytona).

      Is that a thing, that is, bamboo as landscaping? Even if it wasn’t bamboo, strictly speaking, it really did look nice.

      Like

    1. Shrugging my shoulders, Angela.

      Though, the same thing happens to me at times when I visit others’ blogs. I wonder why he/she hasn’t posted in a while, then all at once…

      Anyway, I write once a week, almost like clockwork. In fact, it falls into a comforting pattern. Monday through Wednesday I plan. Thursday or Friday is grocery day. Saturday morning and early afternoon find me in the kitchen, then I write the post on Sunday. Occasionally on Saturday afternoon if there’s time, but usually it’s Sunday.

      Then, come Monday, the excitement builds again.

      If the weekend comes and goes and you still haven’t “heard” from me, chance are your browser is making things needlessly difficult for you. In a way, it’s gratifying to read you haven’t seen many recent posts, as your absence led me to fear, initially, you had lost interest.

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      1. Now, is that due to our innate natures, Angela, or to things we experienced in toddlerhood which will mark the rest of our days?

        Ah, who cares? The only thing that matters is what we do with the traits we have. Thus, our friendship developed, despite our opposite approaches in this matter.

        Besides, there’s so much more we have in common, such as an appreciation for good writing, good cooking and good photography. The list only begins there…

        Liked by 1 person

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