Dinner in 30 Minutes

Tai Shan's Chicken With Bamboo Shoots

4 servings

We asked cookbook author Grace Young to develop a recipe to honor Tai Shan, the National Zoo's giant-panda cub who is scheduled to make his public debut tomorrow.

Because 99 percent of the panda diet is made up of bamboo, Young's dish features slightly sweet bamboo shoots, but it also has carrots and celery because their texture is similar to that of the bamboo shoots. Young, whose latest book is "The Breath of a Wok" (Simon & Schuster, 2004), included some chicken to make the dish tastier for us non-pandas. Serve with steamed rice.

For dessert: black-and-white cookies.

12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

1 teaspoon dry sherry or rice wine

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce

1 medium clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

3 thin slices peeled ginger root

3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 1 cup)

2 celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 1 cup)

One 8-ounce can sliced bamboo shoots, rinsed and well drained

1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon oyster-flavored sauce

2 scallions, chopped, both white and light-green parts (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, sherry, cornstarch, soy sauce, garlic, sugar, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add the sesame oil and stir to combine. Set aside.

Heat a 14-inch wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of the peanut or vegetable oil and carefully add the chicken mixture, spreading it in the wok in a single layer. Cook, undisturbed for 1 minute, letting the chicken begin to brown. Then stir-fry 1 minute, or until the chicken starts to brown but is not cooked through. Transfer to a plate.

Swirl the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil into the wok and add the ginger, carrot, celery, bamboo shoots and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir-fry 1 minute or until vegetables begin to soften. Return the chicken to the wok. Add the broth and stir-fry 1 minute or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has just thickened. Discard the ginger, if desired. Stir in the oyster sauce and scallions, if desired. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 169 calories, 14 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 32 mg cholesterol, 2 g saturated fat, 491 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Marcia Kramer; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

-- Marcia Kramer


* Tierra Negra, the handsome earthen cookware from Colombia, can be used on any stovetop or in the microwave. We tried the 15-inch wok ($74.95), which was light and easy to use (after a slight seasoning step); there's also a small lidded casserole ($34.95); at Crate & Barrel stores or go to www.crateandbarrel.com.

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* A hot beverage inside causes some of our rights to go missing temporarily on this ceramic Disappearing Civil Liberties mug; microwave-safe (but not dishwasher-safe), $12 each; at www.uncommongoods.com, or call 888-365-0056.

* On your whey: Make your own mozzarella and ricotta cheese ($24.95, makes 30 batches) or mascarpone ($14.95, makes 10 batches) with a kit from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Co. in Ashfield, Mass.; a special offer for $50 includes the mozzarella/ricotta kit, a "Cheesemaking 101" video or DVD and a signed copy of the "Home Cheese Making" book by Ricki Carroll; call 413-628-3803 or order online at www.cheesemaking.com.

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Twelve of the Washington area's most renowned chefs are the subject of the premier issue of an annual publication called DC Chefs.

"It was all Michel Richard's idea. He gets the credit," says publisher Joyce E. Lavery, owner of Out of the Box Media.

Richard, of Citronelle in Georgetown, thought a glossy magazine with great photos of chefs and their families as well as short bios and recipes would be a nice reward for regular customers.

DC Chefs 2005-06 is available free at the restaurants whose chefs are featured in this issue: Charlie Palmer Steak, CityZen, Equinox, Galileo, Kaz Sushi Bistro, Maestro, Marcel's, Michel Richard Citronelle, Ristorante Tosca, 1789 Restaurant, 2941 and Vidalia.


THURSDAY: Book signing and food tasting with "The All-American Dessert Book" author Nancy Baggett. Free. 5:30 p.m. Best Cellars Dupont Circle, 1643 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-387-3146.

FRIDAY: Holiday cooking demonstration and dinner with wine pairings with chef Bonnie Moore at Sur La Table. $60. 6:30 p.m. 1101 S. Joyce St., Arlington. 703-414-3580.

SATURDAY: Turkish bazaar sponsored by the Washington Turkish Women's Association for the welfare of Turkish children. $1 admission. 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Walter Johnson High School, 6400 Rock Spring Dr., Bethesda. Call 301-530-3654.

SATURDAY: Holiday Baking for Kids at DC Coast with pastry chef David Guas. $50 per child accompanied by an adult. 11 a.m.-

1 p.m. 1401 K St. NW. Call 202-222-0987.

SATURDAY: Cooking demonstration, lecture and book signing with "The Art of Chinese Cookery" author Joan Shih. Free. Noon-

4 p.m. Bloomingdale's, White Flint Mall, North Bethesda; call 301-984-4612.

SUNDAY and DEC. 18: Brunch with Santa at the Kennedy Center. $33.95, $17.95 for children under 12. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Roof Terrace Restaurant, 2700 F St. NW. Reservations required. Call 202-416-8555.

SUNDAY: Discussion on Turkey's tea culture with Pelin Aylangan, author of the upcoming book "Tea Leaves, Tea Lives." Sponsored by the Culinary Historians of Washington, D.C. Free. 2:30-4:30 p.m. Bethesda/Chevy Chase Regional Services Center. 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda. Call 301-320-6979 or see www.chowdc.org.

MONDAY: Innovators and Innovations in American Food Since 1965 -- lecture and book signing with "The New American Cooking" author Joan Nathan. Free. 6:30 p.m. Cleveland Park Branch Library, 3310 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-282-3080.

-- Terri Sapienza

PLEASE NOTE: Send notices to: To Do, food@washpost.com, 14 days before publication.