Pandan Coconut Waffle

Pandan Waffle

I have some days off work to recover and so I asked my Mother to show me how to make Pandan Waffle. “It’s so easy!” she said. “Well Mom, I want to see you make it and I also want to record it to share it with my viewers.” my reply to her. She agreed and so we set a time to make it happen and here it is.

Video Tutorial:

Pandan Coconut Waffle (makes about 10 waffles)

Ingredients
1 pkg (12 oz) banana & shrimp batter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pk grated coconut
3 cups sugar
3 cups cold water
1 teaspoon pandan extract
waffle maker
oil for brushing

Method:

In a bowl or pot, add the batter follow by the salt and grated coconut.

Next add the sugar and water, gradually. Mix all the ingredients well.

Add pandan extract slowly and mixing as you go to incorporate it into the batter. Minty green is the color you want to aim for. Set the batter aside once color is achieved.

Heat waffle maker and brush the top and bottom grid with oil. Allow some time for the oil to sizzle a bit. Once ready, ladle some of the pandan waffle batter onto the grid. Close the lid and breathe in that wonderful coconut and pandan aroma.

When the waffle maker signals that your waffle is ready carefully open the lid. Use the back of a knife to help life the waffle off the grid and allow to cool.

Repeat the process until you have used all the waffle batter. ENJOY!

Note:
- You can also substitute grated coconut with coconut milk. If you decide to do so, make sure to also adjust the amount of water or not use it at all.

- If your waffle maker tend to stick, you can add a little bit of oil into the waffle batter. Brushing a lot of oil into the waffle grid will make the waffle crispier but also greasy as well.

- You can also add sesame seeds to the batter for a nutty and toasty flavor.

Cambodian Ratatouille

Cambodian Ratatouille known in Khmer as សម្លកកូរ, (Somlaw Koko) is a simple-basic hearty stew which uses assorted vegetables and strong flavorings from pickle fish or fermented fish (prohok), Khmer Kroeung and ground toasted rice. It’s also consider Cambodia’s National Dish.

Over the years, many different versions of Somlaw Koko has been created. Some added coconut milk to this stew. Growing up, my Mother never used coconut milk to make Somlaw Koko. Personally, I think the flavor is too rich and if you were to substitute the ground toasted rice with tamarind soup base, it would turn into Cambodian Sour Soup with Coconut Milk with assorted vegetables or similar to Cambodian Curry. I will leave it up to you, the Chef, to decide what works best for your taste bud.

The vegetables I used here came in a convenience package all mixed together. If you don’t have all or any of these listed you can surely use what’s in season or available in your area. Depending on the type of vegetables use you might want to separate them and add them in the order it takes to cook. My group contains pumpkin which probably might need to be added first, however at this quantity I did not bother dividing them and I did not mind a bit of crunch to my pumpkin either, again a personal preference.

Video Tutorial:

Cambodian Ratatouille (makes 5 servings)
(Somlaw Koko) សម្ល​​​កកូរ

Ingredients
1 teaspoon oil
2 tablespoons palm sugar
1 tablespoon ground pickle fish (prahok)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ground toasted rice
4 tablespoons lemongrass paste (Khmer Kroeung)
1 lb your choice of meat (chicken, pork, or fish) cut into bite size pieces (I used pork ribs)
2 lbs assorted vegetables (pumpkin, shredded papaya, green beans, aubergine, Thai eggplants, fuzzy squash)
8 whole bird’s eye chilies (optional)
3 cups water

Method:
Heat oil in a pot and add palm sugar. Stir quickly until partly dissolve. Becareful not to burn the sugar. Remove the pot or adjust the heat if necessary.

Add in pickle fish (prohok) and stir these two ingredients together until fragrant.

Next add the meat. Stir fry until the meat is coated and slightly brown.

Add lemongrass paste and stir to combine followed by fish sauce and some salt.

Carefully slide in the assorted vegetables. Add in the chilies too if using them.

Scatter the ground toasted rice all over the vegetables. Mix it in slightly, and finally add the water.

Cover and allow the soup to return to a rapid boil. The meat on the bottom is now fully cooked. Give it a stir so the vegetables have a chance to cook and soak up all the flavors. It’s a good time to taste and adjust accordingly. Cover the lid again and continue to cook just a few more minutes.

Ladle into bowls and serve with steam rice. ENJOY!


Fried Mussel with Spicy Tamarind Sauce

Simple yet delicious appetizer that I came up when the FIFA Worldcup 2010 finals was approaching. All the social network mentioned about it, and people were ready to cheer on their team. Some had plans to go hang out with friends and family where food and drink was involve. I did not have any plans instead I thought about putting something together to enjoy while watching the game at home.

Fried Mussel with Spicy Tamarind Sauce, គ្រុមចំពុះទាបំពងនិងទឹកអំពឹលទុំ, Krum Jompook Tear Nung Tirk Ompil Thum was what I came up with. I really enjoy using the Panko bread crumbs for it’s light, airy and crunchy texture. I’ve used it several times like in my Crispy Garlic Pork and Panko Crusted Fish with Lemongrass Chili Sauce and was really satisfied with the results.

Because you can prep everything and make the sauce in advance, this makes it quick and easy to whip up. Try this at your next gathering.

Fried Mussel with Spicy Tamarind Sauce (makes 12 mussels)
(Krum Jompook Tear Nung Tirk Ompil Thum), គ្រុមចំពុះទាបំពងនិងទឹកអំពឹលទុំ,

Ingredients
12 Green Shell mussels
½ cup Japanese style Panko Bread crumbs
1/3 cup rice flour
1 egg
salt
fresh ground pepper
3 bowls/plates or containers
Spicy Tamarind Sauce

Method:
Defrost mussel if frozen. Remove mussel from shell. Thoroughly rinse both shell and meat separately. Drain and set aside separately.

In container #1 mix rice flour with a few pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

In container #2 crack an egg and use a fork to lightly whisk.

In container #3 add panko bread crumbs.

Make a station with 3 separate large plates one for flour, egg and panko bread crumbs. Use one hand (the dry hand) to dust the flour on lightly then move to the next station and drench the mussel with your other hand (wet hand). On the 3rd station return your dry hand and coat with panko bread crumbs. Press them in lightly so they stick to the mussel. Repeat this process until all mussels are done, set aside.

Heat oil in a frying pan and once they are hot add the mussel and fry them. Watch carefully as the bread crumbs tend to brown pretty quick. Adjust heat accordingly. You can start with med-high heat and then crank it up toward the end to get a nice golden brown crust. Cook until all sides turn golden brown and allow to rest on paper towel to remove excess oil, which should not be much.

To serve, lay the fried mussel back into it’s shell and serve with the Spicy Tamarind Sauce. ENJOY!

Cambodian Style Stir Fry Lemongrass

There are several version of stir fry lemongrass out there such as the Vietnamese and the Thai. Each region has their own uniqueness and distinctive flavor. This can also be said for my Cambodian Style Stir Fry Lemongrass, ឆាគ្រឿងសាច់ចិញ្រ្ចាំ (Cha Kroeung Sach Jengjram). While some can just chop up stalks of lemongrass then throw it into the stir fry and call it Stir Fry Lemongrass, Cambodian style is rather a bit more complex. As long as I can recall Cambodian Stir Fry Lemongrass use what we call “Kroeung” which is a made with a combination of aromatics.

I’ve mentioned it many times that this had got to be one of my top 3 Cambodian dishes. The spicier the better! In the past I’ve made this stir fry using finely chopped quails in my Fiery Stir-Fried Lemongrass Quail. This time around, using the same recipe I’ve decided to go with store bought ground pork and made a tutorial to show how quick and easy it is to whip up this delicious Cambodian dish. In addition, because it’s winter fresh holy basil are nearly impossible to get my hands on therefore I have opt frozen holy basil which I had preserve from the fresh one during the summer. See my steps on how to preserve holy basil leaves for later use.

Video Tutorial:

Cambodian Style Stir Fry Lemongrass (makes 2-3 servings)
(Cha Kroeung Sach Jengjram) ឆាគ្រឿងសាច់ចិញ្រ្ចាំ

Ingredients
oil for stir frying
½ cup lemongrass paste, Khmer Kroeung
½ tablespoon finely chopped Pahok (optional)
1 lb ground meat of your choice (chicken, pork, turkey, quail)
jalapeños, sliced lengthwise (adjust amount to taste)
2 teaspoon sugar
1½ tablespoons fish sauce
½ tablespoon tamarind soup base
½ cup of holy basil leaves

Method:
Heat a pan and fry the lemongrass and pahok (if using) until fragrant. Add your choice of ground meat and continue to stir fry until they are cook. It will be dry but that’s okay.

Next add jalapeños and the remainder ingredients. Quickly stir to combine the ingredients. Taste and adjust to your preference. Turn the heat off and add holy basil leaves. Give it a final stir and transfer to a serving dish.

How to Preserve Holy Basil Leaves
You will need holy basil leaves and oil.

Pick out the leaves and tender stems. Flash rinse them quickly and thoroughly dry them. If you have a salad spinner, this would be an excellent way to dry them.

Once they are fully dry, heat a pan to medium-high heat. Lightly oil the pan and toss in the holy basil leaves.

Flash fry the leaves by quickly tossing them around so the leaves are coated with the oil. The heat and the oil will cause the leaves to wilt a bit, this is perfectly fine. Since the leaves are light and tender it should not take very long, less than a minute. If you have a large amount to preserve, I suggest you flash fry them in batches to prevent over crowding.

Next transfer it onto a platter and allow to cool. Once cool you can bag them up in small batches (servings) and store it in the freezer.

When it is time to use, you can defrost it slightly and add to recipes that calls for holy basil.

Egg Rolls | Spring Rolls

I invite you to try my version of egg rolls, នែមចៀន (Naem Jean) or also known as spring rolls. I think the naming will depend on where you are located. I’ve actually heard of “summer rolls” in Eastern parts of the USA however those are mostly refer to the fresh ones which in California are called “spring rolls”. Basically what I am showing here is how to make a delicious crunchy, crispy “FRIED” rolls.

Enjoy egg rolls with your favorite dip such as the sweet chili sauce or with fish sauce. You can even create a bowl of Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad by cutting up these egg rolls and adding fresh chopped lettuce, sliced cucumbers, rice noodles and some pickled carrots & daikon.

I’ve choose to cook the filling first and allowed it to drain and cool. Using this technique has a couple of benefits. A cool filling prevents soggy egg rolls. Egg rolls can sometime fry up too quickly and you might notice that the shell will brown and sometime burns before the meat inside is cook. For this reason, if the filling is fully cook then that is one less thing to worry especially when you are serving to large crowds. You do not what any guest to complain about under-cook meat, a big NO NO.

For the curious mind, here is an excerpt about egg rolls. “An egg roll is an appetizer and dinner, a variant of spring roll, which was originally eaten in East Asia but has spread throughout the world as a staple of Asian cuisine. Many Asian countries are claimed to have originated the dish, and variants of the egg roll exist in multiple Asian cuisines.”

Video Tutorial:

Egg Rolls | Spring Rolls (makes 25 egg rolls)
(Naem Jean) នែមចៀន

Ingredients
2 cups shredded carrot
1 cup shredded cabbage
¼ cup chopped green onion
1 bunch mung bean thread, soak and cut into 1-inch
½ cup shredded fungus, soak
1 egg white, use for sealing
5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup full ground pork
1 tablespoon oil for frying

Seasoning
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon (or less), black pepper
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 cups oil for deep frying
1 pkg egg roll wrapper (25 sheets)

Method:
Making the Filling
Get your pan nice and hot then add the oil. Once the oil is hot toss in the garlic. Fry until golden brown.

Next add the ground pork. Spread and break it up as you fry. Continue to stir fry until the meat is about 80% cooked. Add ½ of the seasoning into the pork mix. Continue to stir fry 1-2 mins or until most of the sauce has evaporate.

Add shredded fungus, shredded carrots, and the shredded cabbage follow by the rest of the seasoning and continue to mix it all together. About 1 minute later, turn off the heat and add in the chopped green onions.
Give it a final stir to incorporate all the ingredients and flavors.

Use a colander with a bowl under and transfer the filling mixture. This will allow the filling to cool as well as drain any liquid to prevent a soggy egg roll. Add and mix in the mung bean noodles.

Rolling & Wrapping the Egg Rolls
Gently peel a couple of egg roll wrappers. Set aside and use a damp paper towel/cloth to cover so the sheets don’t dry out.

Lay one sheet flat with one corner pointing towards you. Add some fillings about 1 inch away from the corner and spread it around. Roll it in (outward), roll it once then bring the left and right sides to the center.
Seal the end with a wash off egg white.

Repeat this step until you have used up all your wrappers and filling. Makes 25 egg rolls.

How to Freeze Egg Rolls
Lay egg rolls in a single layer. Cover with plastic or parchment paper to prevent sticking then add the next layer. Once they are frozen you can transfer them to resealable bags. There is no need to defrost them. Deep fry them while they are frozen.

Let’s fry some up!
Heat enough oil in your frying pot/pan. Add the egg rolls carefully one at a time turning occasionally until golden brown. Once done, place on wire rack to drain and cool. This will keep them crispy.

Serve it up with your favorite dip. ENJOY!

Crispy Fried Larb Balls

A few weeks ago I shared one of Southeast Asian fresh flavorful salad known as Larb, ลาบ (ឡាប). With just a few extra ingredients you can kick it up a notch and turn them into Crispy Fried Larb Ball (Larb Bompong Sroeuy Sroeuy), ឡាបបំពងស្រួយៗ. This bite-size flavor exploded balls makes a great appetizer (paired with alcohol beverages) or a snack. Enjoy it with steamed or sticky rice and you have a fulfilling meal. Some people are not familiar with the taste of Crispy Fried Larb Ball. Crispy on the outside and as you bite into it you will instantly be remind of the Larb salad flavors.

Superbowl XLV (45th) is coming this February 6, 2011 and many will join their friends, family and loved ones to watch the game, this would be a great dish to serve and share. If alcohol is involve then definitely check out my Cambodian Popcorn Chicken and Stuffed Chicken Wings recipe. It will sure to be a hit! If time is limited, you can order my Mother’s Cambodian Sausage. You just need to put these on the grill and they are good to go. Order by January 29, 2011 and we will have them delivered in time for game day.

As always with my recipes, feel free to substitute your choice of meat. This time I am using ground turkey instead of pork. Ground chicken would be another great choice. There is no need to pre-cook the meat since the Larb will be formed into a ball and deep fried. For this reason, it is important that the balls are not too big of a size so they are cooked thoroughly.

Crispy Fried Larb Balls (makes 25-30 balls)
(Larb Bompong Sroeuy Sroeuy) ឡាបបំពងស្រួយៗ

Ingredients
1 lb ground meat (chicken, pork, turkey)
1 bunch bean thread, soak until soften and cut into 1½ inch
1 large shallot, diced
1 tablespoon toasted rice grain, pound or grind finely
1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes, adjust to taste
1 tablespoon crushed roasted peanut
1 teaspoon sugar
4-5 cilantro sprigs, chopped
2 stalks green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
oil for frying

assorted fresh vegetables and herbs for serving

Method:
In a large mixing bowl combine the first 11 ingredients. Mix well. You can use plastic gloves to protect your hands.

Add 1 teaspoon flour. This will help absorb the juices and shape the ball. Set aside.

Prepare 2 separate plate/bowl. One for the beaten egg, and the other for the Panko bread crumbs.

Scoop about 1 teaspoon of Larb mixture and form into a ball. Try to make the balls of equal sizes so they fry up evenly.

Using a flork or slotted spoon dip the ball into the beaten egg. Drain and coat it with Panko bread crumbs. Set aside. Repeat this step until you have used up all the Larb mixture.

Depending on the size on your frying pot/pan add enough frying oil so that it will cover at least half of the Larb balls. You want to use a heavy base pot/pan. If the frying pot/pan is too thin it will cause the outside to burn while leaving the inside meat un-cook.

Heat oil to medium high and add the Larb balls in increments and batches. Adding them too quickly all at once will drop the oil temperature. This can cause the oil to penetrate through and make the Larb balls soggy instead of crispy.

Deep fry the Larb balls until golden brown. Turn them occasionally so all the sides cook through. Strain on paper towel or paper bag to remove excess oil.

Serve with your choice of fresh vegetables and herbs. ENJOY!

Asian Garlic Chicken Penne

Today is one of those days that I ran out of fresh ingredients in the fridge and not emotionally well to do my grocery shopping just yet. I survey my fridge, freezer and pantry and the things I gathered were previous frozen chicken breast that I’ve defrost overnight, a box of whole wheat penne and a head of garlic, oh and also I snipped some green onion that was on my kitchen window sill as a garnish. Seasonings were things I usually use for my stir-fried dishes. Seasoning is to taste and because this is a “garlic” dish you are free to go overboard with the garlic, as much as you can handle.

This is suppose to be a quick and easy fix or if you want to stretch out your money by making use of what you currently have. You can substitute penne with any type of dried pasta or noodles. The same goes with the meat. Pork and shrimp would also make a great substitution like my Garlic Shrimp Rice Noodle recipe.

Asian Garlic Chicken Penne (makes 1-2 serving)
(Mon Ktum​​​​ Saw Jear Muy Penne) ម៉ាន់ខ្ទឹមសរជាមួយ Penne

Ingredients
1½ cup whole wheat penne
1 chicken breast, sliced (optional: pre-soak with 1 teaspoon baking soda and 2 cups water to tenderize)
1 head garlic, peel and minced
1 teaspoon oil
finely chopped green onion for garnish

Seasoning
2 tablespoons chicken stock or water
½ teaspoon chicken powder
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Method:
Cook penne according to the package, drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a pan and saute garlic just until brown.

Add chicken with half of the seasoning and continue to cook. The liquid from the seasoning will help to pick up the garlic pieces that might have stuck to the pan. Also the steam will moisten the chicken as well.

Once chicken is 95% cooked add the remaining seasoning and toss in the penne. Stir to coat, taste and adjust accordingly.

To serve, dish out and sprinkle with green onion. ENJOY!

Larb Pork

Larb, ลาบ (ឡាប) can be describe as a fresh flavorful Southeast Asian salad dish consisting of ground meats married with lime juice, fish sauce, ground toasted rice and various seasonings and herbs. On restaurants menu it might be spell Laab, Laap, or Larp. This dish is mostly served at room temperature along with assorted fresh or steamed vegetables. If you have sticky rice on hand it would be absolutely delicious as it helps pick up the tasty Larb juices. Sticky rice is also customary in Laos and Isan Thailand however, I usually go with which ever type of rice I have on hand.

You can substitute pork with any type of ground meat such as chicken, beef or turkey. In addition, all of the measurements that I provided for the ingredients should serve as a guide. Adjust the flavors according to your taste especially the level of spicy. I like to enjoy Larb with cucumber slices and iceberg lettuce because of it’s fresh and crisp flavors that help balance the spicy taste. Of course, the choice is up to you and/or who you are serving.


Larb Pork (makes 2-3 serving)
(Larb Sach Jrook) ឡាបសាច់ជ្រូក

Ingredients
¾-1 lb ground pork
2 tablespoons ground toasted rice
1 tablespoon ground red pepper, adjust amount to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 shallots, peeled cut lengthwise and thinly sliced
7-8 cilantro stems, chopped
2 stalks green onion, chopped
your choice of fresh or cooked vegetable to serve

Method:
In a heated nonstick pan add ground pork and cook thoroughly. Add small amounts of water if necessary to fully cook the meat. Set aside and allow to cool down a bit.

In the meantime prepare your vegetables to be served.

In a large mixing bowl add cook meat and all of the remainder ingredients together. Mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust accordingly. There should be a balance of salty and sour taste and you should also taste the ground toasted rice.

Serve Larb with vegetables you had previously prepared along with sticky or steamed rice. ENJOY!

Cambodian Popcorn Chicken

In my attempt to try and create a Cambodian version of Popcorn Chicken I decided to use Khmer Kroeung which is the base flavor for many well-known Khmer dishes such as the Cambodian Spicy & Sour Soup and Fiery Stir-Fried Lemongrass Quail, just to name a few. I will therefore name it Cambodian Popcorn Chicken, ម៉ាន់គ្រឿងបំពង (Mon Kroeung Bomporng). I am extremely happy with the outcome. It was delicious and there was that hint of Khmer Kroeung in every single bite. The only thing I sort of regret is not having fresh holy basil leaves so I opt for Thai basil leaves instead.

One of the greatest things I love about living in the Bay Area beside the weather is the availability of the different ethnic food. Seems like everything is within proximity. You don’t have to drive too far or fly out of state. If you visited California recently especially around the Bay Area or Southern California you might of seen a bunch of small Asian Fusion Style Chain Cafe such as Quickly and Tapioca Express. Although there drink selection is overwhelming I can’t seem to resist ordering is their Popcorn Chicken or otherwise known as Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken or just plain Salt & Pepper Chicken. It is not the same as the Popcorn Chicken you get from KFC or American restaurants. The one you get from Quickly or Tapioca Express is flavored with Asian spices such as star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, fennel. These spices together make what is known as Five-Spice Powder. This was my inspiration for creating this delicious Cambodian Popcorn Chicken.

I also made a red pepper salt mixture as a sprinkle because I just love the spicy flavor in savory dishes. This is of course optional. This spicy flavored salt can also be sprinkle on fried eggs, omelets, chickens and many more items that calls for a splash of the usual salt and pepper.

Cambodian Popcorn Chicken (makes 1-2 serving depends if serving as a snack or with rice)
(Mon Kroeung Bomporng) ម៉ាន់គ្រឿងបំពង

Ingredients
¾ lb chicken (breast or thigh meat) cut into bite size pieces – for this recipe I used a whole large chicken breast
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
½ tablespoon fish sauce
½ tablespoon oyster sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ tablespoon Shaoxing wine, used as a tenderizer
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Khmer Kroeung
½ cup sweet potato flour or also label as potato starch
holy basil leaves or Thai basil leaves as garnish
oil for deep frying

Spicy Flavored Salt Mixture
1½ tablespoons red pepper powder
1 teaspoon white pepper powder
½ teaspoon salt

Method:
To make the spicy flavored salt mixture combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. You can definitely adjust the amount to taste. Set aside for later use.

Marinade the chicken pieces with garlic, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, Shaoxing wine, salt, sugar and Khmer Kroeung. Mix well, cover and marinade for at least 30 minutes or overnight for best flavor. Try to bring it to room temperature prior to proceeding with the next step.

In a heavy pan/pot heat oil over medium heat. While waiting for the oil to heat up sprinkle sweet potato all over marinaded chicken pieces. Use more if necessary. There will be clumps therefore I just use a strainer to shake off the clumps so that it doesn’t end up in the frying pan as it is rather difficult to fish out small pieces of burnt flour in hot oil.

When the oil is hot and ready, deep fry the chicken pieces until golden brown. Depending on the type of meat (white/dark) in addition to the cut sizes it can take anywhere from 3-4 minutes to fry.

Test a piece and once it is cook use a medal strainer or slotted spoon to transfer them to paper towels or paper bags to remove excess oil.

Next toss in the basil leaves in the hot oil. Be extremely careful because this cause a loud popping sound and sometime oil splashes if the leaves are not thoroughly dried. Protect yourself with a splatter guard or quickly toss it and step far away until the sizzling sound decreases. It should only take 20-25 seconds to fry the basil leaves.

You can transfer the chicken to a serving plate or serve it in paper bags garnish with fried basil leaves. Sprinkle with spicy flavored salt if you prefer.

This delicious dish can be served as a snack or eaten as a meal with steamed rice. ENJOY!

Cambodian Hot Pork and Pumpkin Curry

About a month ago my Mother gave me three pumpkins. I did not have a menu plan but I do know that these things can be kept for a very very long time so I did not resist in bringing all three of them home. The first recipe that came to mind is Cambodian Pumpkin Pudding in Banana Leaves (Num La’pov). I did not feel like making desserts out of them yet since I usually end up eating them all by myself which isn’t a very good idea therefore I opted for a savory dish like this Cambodian Hot Pork and Pumpkin Curry, ការីល្ពៅសាច់ជ្រូក (Kari La’pov Sach Jrook) .

The recipe was adapted from a cookbook in my collection entitled The Food & Cooking of Cambodia which I recently repurchase because I misplace my first copy. Actually this wasn’t the first time I’ve made a curry using pumpkins I usually do just a simple and quick version by using store-bought Thai red curry paste. This Cambodian version use Khmer Kroeung as the base which gives it a distinctive Cambodian taste. As always with curries you can serve it with either steamed rice, crusty bread or rice noodles.

Cambodian Hot Pork and Pumpkin Curry (makes 3-4 serving)
(Kari La’pov Sach Jrook) ការីល្ពៅសាច់ជ្រូក

Ingredients
½ tablespoon oil
1 slice galanga, finely sliced
5 red chillies, finely sliced (reduce amount for a milder curry)
½ small sweet onion or 2 shallots, finely sliced
2 tablespoons Khmer Kroeung
½ tablespoon palm sugar
1 lb pork, cut into bite size chunks
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
1 kabocha pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into bite size chunks
4-5 kaffir lime leaves, reserve 1-2 leaves and slivered for garnish
1 tablespoon fish sauce

Method:
Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Stir in galanga, chillies, and onions and stir-fry until fragrant. Add Khmer Kroeung and stir-fry until it begins to color. Add palm sugar.

Stir in the chunks of pork and stir-fry until golden brown on all sides. Stir in shrimp paste and pour in coconut milk.

Bring to the boil, add the pumpkin and kaffir lime leaves, and reduce the heat. Cook gently, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until the pumpkin and pork are tender but not mushy and the sauce has reduced. If you prefer a thinner curry then feel free to add water or stock.

Add fish sauce and season to taste. Garnish the curry with slivered kaffir lime leaves.

This curry can be serve with rice, noodles or crusty bread. ENJOY!

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