Bamboo shoots, a staple of Isaan food, are commonly found in salads and curries - such as this soupy, slightly sour curry, delicious with steamed sticky rice.
- 1 bamboo shoot (about 1.2kg), outer husk and tough white exterior removed, thinly sliced (see note)
- 35 gm galangal, chopped
- 5 red shallots, coarsely chopped
- 3 long green chillies, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, coarsely chopped
- 1 tbsp ground preserved fish sauce
- 20 gm light palm sugar, crushed
- 50 gm tamarind pulp or to taste, dissolved in 125ml hot water, strained (solids discarded)
- 500 gm flathead fillets, cut into 4cm pieces
- ½ cup Thai basil (firmly packed)
- 60 ml fish sauce, or to taste (¼ cup)
- 6 small green chillies (optional)
- To serve: bean sprouts, coriander leaves and dried chilli flakes
- 1Blanch bamboo for 10 seconds. Drain and repeat until bamboo is no longer bitter (4-6 times). Set aside.
- 2Meanwhile, finely process galangal, shallot, chilli, garlic and lemongrass with a large pinch of salt in a food processor until smooth. Alternatively, pound in a mortar and pestle.
- 3Bring preserved fish sauce and 1 litre water to the boil in a saucepan, add shallot mixture, palm sugar and tamarind and bring back to the boil, then cook over medium-high heat until paste dissolves and cooks out (2-4 minutes). Strain through a fine sieve into a wok, add bamboo and fish and bring to a simmer over medium heat until fish is just cooked (1-2 minutes). Add basil, fish sauce and chillies, then adjust seasoning to taste (it should be hot, sour and salty). Serve hot topped with bean sprouts, coriander leaves and chilli flakes.
Note If fresh bamboo shoots are unavailable, used large cooked bamboo shoots available in the refrigerated section of Asian grocers and skip step 1.
Drink Suggestion: Light, exotically perfumed viognier. Drink suggestion by Max Allen