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Bamboo shoots – commonly known as ‘MALEWA’

by Paula
(Graz, Austria)

'Malewa' as seen sold in the local Market

'Malewa' as seen sold in the local Market

I lived in Uganda for over 9 years in the baMasaba land and 'Malewa'(bamboo shoots) was truly Ugandan in all sense. Its preparation is done with precision.

Common with the Bagisu people in the eastern region, Malewa is one dish you will not miss finding on the menu if you visited Mbale district. It is a traditional dish that is prepared and talked about with pride.

You dare not leave Mbale without trying this stuff!

It is smoked bamboo shoots which you can easily pick up from one of the local market. See picture

It is a good sauce of proteins, amino acids, fat (which is comparatively low; 0.26%-0.94%), sugar and inorganic salt.

Preparation: 2 hours (which you can do in phases)
Serves: About 5

A small to medium smoked bamboo shoot (look at the sizes in the market).
¼ tsp of baking soda.
Plenty of water (you need a good amount for the boiling)

Place the bamboo shoot in a pot, cover with water and bring to boil for about 30 mins.
Pour off that water and repeat step 1 – boiling for another 30 mins.
Cut off the joints – where the bamboo is hard and keep the soft parts.
Cut the soft parts into smaller pieces, rinse with cold water, add ¼ tsp of baking soda, cover with water and bring to boil again for ½ an hour.
Your bamboo is ready – rinse with cold water, then; you can choose to add the bamboo to groundnut sauce (peanut sauce), which you can serve with rice or matooke (kind of plantain). You can also choose to add it to any vegetables.

That is how most Ugandans would prepare it.

But let’s build this further, with experience and adventure in global cooking; you could choose to do what ever you want with the Malewa.

Try this;

What you need;
The ready cooked small pieces of 'Malewa'(bamboo shoots).
A small cup of almost ready fresh peas
2 slices of bacon – cut into small pieces
4 bulbs of spring onions.
Red onion – cut into rings.
1 tsp of vegetable oil
1 tsp of soy sauce
½ tsp of salt
A few drops of chilli oil

Heat up the oil in a frying pan; add the bacon cuts fry to just about crisp. Add the onions (both spring and red), stir fry for about 2 mins, add the peas and stir fry until crisp tender. Add bamboo shoots, soy sauce, salt and pepper – fry for about 2 mins. Add a few drops of chilli oil, fry for about a minute. Take it off the heat, fluff and stand for about 5 mins then serve.


Fun fact:

Did you know that?
Modern research has found that bamboo shoots have a number of medicinal benefits. They are good particularly for cancer prevention and weight loss and are a good remedy for improving ones appetite and digection.

They also have low sugar content and consequently can be used to treat hypertension, hyperlipemia and hyperglycemia

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