This is a home-cooked recreation of a Beijing restaurant dish. The restaurant in this case is another belonging to that great and rare genre, “Beijing creative.” Here is my version:
And here is my poor quality, underexposed, out-of-focus, iPhone shot of the original dish from the restaurant:
Never mind my poor quality picture; I promise that both versions of this dish are really good.
A word about the restaurant. As I described in my first post recreating a Beijing restaurant dish, most eateries in the city tend to be either fairly pedestrian places or else places that attempt to recreate traditional imperial banquet fare. So it’s relatively hard to find “foodie” places, where chefs have fun being creative. I found this bamboo and bacon dish at Private Kitchen #44, which is a delightful and quiet place in one of the hutongs in old Beijing. It was thoroughly wonderful.
Begin by placing the bacon in your wok and frying lightly. No extra oil is required.
Then fry the drained bamboo shoots with garlic in the fat left over from cooking the bacon.
Add the bacon back to the wok and toss with the rest of the ingredients, it’s that simple. (Note that the dried chiles aren’t meant to be eaten; much like chicken bones, they add flavor and depth but are supposed to be eaten around.)
INGREDIENTS and PREP:
- 8 oz sliced bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces about 1″ square and between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick
- 8 oz canned sliced bamboo shoots, drained and patted dry with a paper towel; 2 large cloves garlic, minced; 10 dried red chili peppers, snapped into roughly 1/4″ lengths, with most of the seeds removed
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
- 5 large basil leaves, torn roughly into a few pieces each
- Heat your wok on medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the bacon (#1) in batches so that each piece can lay flat against the bottom of the wok. Let it fry until it just begins to curl, then turn and continue cooking for another minute or so. Remove the bacon to drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all the bacon is cooked. It should be gently crispy in places but overall still flexible and soft.
- Bacon fat will have collected in your wok at this point. Heat it until hot but not smoking, and then add the bamboo shoots, garlic, and chiles (#2). Stir-fry until hot and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
- Drizzle 1 tsp sesame oil (#3) over the wok and stir well. Stir in the dark soy sauce (#4). Finally, add the basil (#5) and toss.
- Serve with rice and contrasting dishes.
Variations: Substitute other fresh herbs like scallions or cilantro for the basil. For additional contrasting textures, you might add chicken pieces or large chunks of fresh bell peppers.