Stir fries are such an easy weeknight meal. They're so versatile, because you can use any combination of protein and vegetables that you like. This bamboo shoots and beef stir fry, or măng xào thịt bò, is a family favorite. I love the fresh, earthy flavor of bamboo shoots. If I skip the rice, I could eat an entire pan of this dish in one sitting!Jump to Recipe
Where to find bamboo shoots
Bamboo shoots are a the cone shaped, tender bits of bamboo. At this stage, the bamboo plant has not turned into the hard, green stalks that is as hard as some woods. They have a mild, earthy flavor that you have to experience to appreciate.
Fresh bamboo can be hard to find even in Asian grocery stores. It can also be intimidating to cook with, because you have to remove the outer layer and pre-boil the shoots to remove the bitter taste. However, many Asian grocery stores sell fresh bamboo shoots that have already been boiled. These are often found frozen, vacuum packed or fresh in the produce section. I prefer to buy mine in the produce section when possible. The shoots are usually in bags filled with water or sitting in large tubs of water for you to pick out.
Almost all stores, western or Asian, will carry canned bamboo shoots, which are also pre-boiled. These are often sliced into thin, uniform pieces. It's possible to cook the bamboo shoots and beef stir fry with canned bamboo as well, but the flavor will be much more mild.
Bamboo Shoots and Beef Stir Fry (Măng Xào Thịt Bò): Step-by-step instructions
Start with your beef. I buy pre-sliced beef at my nearest Asian grocery store. The sliced you see above are quite long so I cut them into thirds. If you can't find pre-sliced beef, you can buy top round and slice by hand, very thin. Sirloin is a more tender, but more expensive option as well.
Add some fish sauce, shallot, garlic, salt and pepper to the beef. Mix well and set aside.
Cut your bamboo pieces into slices. I do this by cutting them in half, and then slicing lengthwise.
If your pieces are really big, you can cut the bamboo shoots in half lengthwise and then width-wise before slicing.
Add some oil to a large pan on medium-high heat. Start by browning the beef.
When most of the red in the beef has disappeared, add the bamboo. You're almost done! It's that easy. It's bamboo and beef stir fry, these are the only ingredients.
After about 10 minutes, when the bamboo is cooked through, turn off the heat. Add a handful of chopped cilantro and let the residual heat wilt the herbs.
Bamboo and beef stir fry, or Măng Xào Thịt Bò, tastes great served over hot rice, but it also tastes great on it's own! without rice, it is a great low carb option. If you don't eat red meat, this dish also tastes great with shrimp.
Bamboo and Beef Stir Fry (Măng Xào Thịt Bò)
- 3 fresh bamboo shoots about 1 lb
- ½ lb sliced beef
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ bunch cilantro, chopped optional
- 1 tbsp neurtral oil like canola
- Marinate the beef with fish sauce, garlic, shallot, salt and pepper
- Slice the bamboo shoots into long pieces by cutting in half and then slicing lengthwise
- Brown the sliced beef in a pan with oil on medium high heat
- When most of the red has disappeared in the meat, add the bamboo and continue to stir well and cook for about 10 minutes,
- Turn off heat, add chopped cilantro and use the residual heat to wilt