Summers in Assam means that the markets are abundant with bamboo shoots. As the bamboos start sprouting, you get to eat tender and juicy bamboo shoots which can be cooked with vegetables or meat or pickled/fermented for later use. Chicken with bamboo shoots is also such an Assamese delicacy which is best eaten when the bamboo shoots are found fresh.
Generally, the habit of eating bamboo shoots are more persistent in people from upper Assam. The lower Assam people’s kitchens are not frequented with this awesome forest vegetable. Although it has finally reached the lower Assam kitchens, the use is still limited to bamboo shoot pickles.
I tasted bamboo shoots in the 1990s in Guwahati. It was one of the frequent visits to the city during our summer vacation. The taste, the smell and the feeling..its something that I still cherish.
The love for bamboo shoots continued and deepened after I got married in upper Assam. Being a new bride, I was invited for lunch/dinner during the initial years and with every such meal, I got to taste a different version of bamboo shoots.
My favourite ones among those dishes are black lentils cooked with bamboo shoots, a mash made with fish and bamboo shoots and chicken cooked with bamboo shoots.
Chicken cooked with bamboo shoots is an easy recipe. It is also a light dish which can be eaten with plain rice or just as a stand-alone dish.
Ingredients for Chicken Cooked with Bamboo Shoots
Chicken with bamboo shoots also involves minimum oil and minimum spices. It can be cooked just with some chicken (the country chicken tastes better), ginger+garlic+onion paste, a pinch of cumin powder and lots of bamboo shoots. I, however, added potatoes (cannot imagine my chicken curry without big chunks of potatoes!) and some homemade paanchphoran powder.
Now, what is paanchphoran powder? Paanchphoran is a mix of five spices of fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, carrom seeds and cumin seeds. They can be used to temper the oil in this recipe. But I dry roasted them for 5 minutes and made some coarsely ground powder. It enhances the flavour and texture.
You can always skip the paanchphoran part and add a little cumin powder instead.
Another twist you can add to your chicken cooked with bamboo shoots is by adding a dash of chillies. Traditionally, lots of tribes in Assam add bhoot jolokia or ghost chillies into this curry. If you are not fond of chillies, skip the part but if you can tolerate a little, add one or a half of ghost chilly to your curry.
How to Cook Chicken Cooked with Bamboo Shoots
By all means, chicken with bamboo shoots is an easy dish to make. Here is the recipe I followed.
- Wash the chicken and cut it into smaller pieces.
- Make 3 tablespoons of onino+ginger+garlic paste. Please note that you don’t make it a fine paste. Just ground them coarsely.
- Make 1 teaspoon of paanchphoran powder or cumin powder.
- If you are using raw bamboo shoot, slice them thinly. Otherwise, keep 3 tablespoons of fermented bamboo shoots ready. (I used fermented one here)
- Heat mustard oil in a pressure cooker/ kadahi
- Once the oil reaches the smoking point, add the onion+ginger+garlic paste.
- Saute for two minutes.
- Add the chicken and potatoes along with required salt and turmeric powder.
- Stir and cover with the lid.
- Keep the flame low.
- After 5 minutes, add the masala powder and stir again.
- Cook on slow heat for 20 minutes (keep stirring time to time)
- Once the chicken loses its rawness, add warm water, ghost chillies(optional) and bamboo shoots.
- Bring to boil.
- Cook for another 20 minutes on medium to slow flame.
- Let the chicken absorb the flavour of chillies and bamboo shoots.
- Once you reach the consistency of soup, adjust the salt and turn off the gas.
- Your chicken cooked with bamboo shoots is ready.
It can be served as a starter or as a main dish with plain rice.