CASKE 2000 > Survival > Food > Bamboo Cooking
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JEAN-PHILIPPE SOULÉ © 1998
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During my last visit to Thailand, I visited Khao Sok National Park. With my dad and a few friends, we hired a park ranger to guide us to some secluded river spots. There our guide was supposed to cook us lunch and teach us the wilderness Thai cooking technique. We were there at the beginning of the rainy season and were less than impressed with the initial skills of our guide. After 30 minutes desperately trying to start a fire with wet wood he was showing signs of frustration. We cut short our swimming to help. Hmmm, no wonder no kindling, just large wet pieces of wood. We quickly gathered some kindling, split some wood to find dry fibers and set the fire. After this little incident we started to worry about the cooking abilities of our guide (they must only guide tourists during the dry season). However, he quickly cut some large bamboo and prepared us a fine meal. This technique is easy and imparts a deep flavor to the rice. The photographs below illustrate the steps he took to cook rice in a bamboo tube. The time necessary depends on the size of your bamboo pot, the amount of water and rice you pour into it, and the size of your fire. In this case, it took thirty minutes (after the fire was burning) for us to be able to enjoy our rice with slices of pineapples (and some pieces of Thai style barbecue chicken brought from home).
You could replace the banana fronds with other large leaves. Be careful not to use any poisonous leaves. The leaf you use will infuse its flavor into the rice. The sago leaf has a fairly plain taste, the papaya leaf gives a very bitter taste (Indonesian like it and it helps build resistance against malaria). Enjoy your next jungle meal and check our other survival cooking tips and outdoor cuisine recipes.
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