Bamboo shoot is an important ingredient in Manipuri cuisine. It is eaten in various forms – fresh as well as fermented. When it is fermented it becomes soibum and soidon. The fresh bamboo shoot is usoi. Usoi is used in many recipes starting from stew made with dried peas to kangsu, which is a kind of salad. Today, we have usoi kangsu.
Picture recipe for Usoi kangsu
1. Usoi (fresh bamboo shoot) – 1 (The one I used weigh about 450 gm)
2. Dried white peas – ¼ cup
3. Dry red chillies – 9 to 10 (or depending on the level of spiciness you want and also the level of heat of the chilli)
4. Dried fermented fish(ngari) – about 3 medium sized ones
5. Dry Shrimp – a handful
6. Salt – to taste
7. Coriander – a few sprigs
8. Lemon basil(mayangton)- a few sprigs
9. Chinese chives – a few strands
10. Spring onions – a few strands
Prep work (one night before you make the kangsu):
1. Thinly sliced and soak it overnight (it eliminates the raw smell of the bamboo shoot).
2. Soak the white peas overnight(you can substitute it with split dried yellow peas- mangal kangtak). If you are using split dried yellow peas there is no need to soak overnight.
1. Boil the soaked bamboo shoot till it is cooked. If you are pressure cooking, let it give 3 to 4 long whistles and let it cool. Once it cools down drain it and squeeze out all the water. You can put the boiled bamboo shoot in a muslin cloth and wring out all the water. (The key point of kangsu is to make it as dry as possible).
2. In the meantime, while the bamboo shoot is cooling down in the pressure cooker, take the Chillies and dry roast it and grind it coarsely(If you boil the chilli, it becomes quite liquidy when you mash it. To avoid that, roast it. Roasting also gives the chillies a distinctive flavour)
3. Roast the ngari.
4. Roast the shrimp and let it cool down. Once it cools down grind it very coarsely. Let chunks remain.
5. Then dry roast the soaked peas until all the water is evaporated and it is cooked. (Since I ran out of dried white peas, I used split dried yellow peas. I pressure cooked it for 4 whistles and released the pressure instantly. Then it is roasted in a pan to pan.
6. Switch off the gas when all the water has evaporated. Let it cool down completely and grind it coarsely.
7. In a big plate take the ngari and chilli. Mix it thoroughly with salt.
8. Add the bamboo shoot and mix it properly with the ngari, chilli and salt mixture.
9. To this add the ground peas and shrimp. Mix it well.
10. Add the chopped lemon basil, coriander, chives and spring onions.
11. Mix well and it is ready to be served.
12. Put the kangsu in a serving dish, garnish with some shoots of lemon basil, a few leaves of coriander and serve it.
Note: This is just how I prepare it. This may not be the only way. There may be variations in the steps of preparation.