Valentine’s Day is this Sunday, 2 days away. When one thinks of Valentine’s Day the first things that comes in mind almost instantly are red roses, puffy hearts and sweet decedent chocolates. Most definitely fish cakes does not cross people’s mind. For others it’s the sales and discounts at their favorite stores. No matter what people says, thinks or feel about Valentine’s Day it is one of the most celebrated holidays around the world. In my country, Cambodia, it’s refer to as Tngai Bonn Songsa with literally means Boyfriend/Girlfriend Day. I think it extends to Husbands/Wives too, no? Hmmm.. I hope so. 😀
I went to watch the Superbowl at my Sister’s house last weekend. My Mother sent back with me a couple package of prepared fish paste to post in the store (coming soon). These are prepared fish paste which has some of the basic spices and herbs in there already however, you can still mix your own flavors into them. I’ve added the Khmer Kroeung (lemongrass paste) to make ប្រហិតត្រីទ្រង់គ្រឿង Pa’het Trey Troong Kroeung or Lemongrass Fish Cake with a kick. You can also add chop green beans and green onions for a whole new flavor and texture. Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner I got a bit festive and shape my fish cakes into hearts. This is totally optional of course. Follow along as I will be using my Mother’s prepared fish paste in a variety of recipes coming soon .
Cambodian Lemongrass Fish Cakes (makes 15)
(Pa’het Trey Troong Kroeung) ប្រហិតត្រីទ្រង់គ្រឿង
1 cup prepared fish paste (available in my store soon)
1/3 cup Khmer Kroeung (lemongrass paste)
1 tablespoon red pepper powder, optional
oil for frying
Cucumber relish, see recipe
cilantro for garnish
shape cookie cutter, optional
a sheet of wax paper 8×10
In a bowl add fish paste and Khmer Kroeung (lemongrass paste). Combine and mix well. Set aside for about 30 minutes.
To form the shape of your choice, just scope out a tablespoon of fish paste and fill it inside the shape cutter using a back of a small spoon to press it evenly. Lay it on a sheet of wax paper to avoid it from sticking. You can also roll it into a ball and press it flat between your palms like a patty. Add a pinch of red pepper powder to the center (one side) for an extra kick, optional.
Heat oil in a pan on high but reduce is back to medium for a minute before adding the patties. They cook up very fast so watch carefully. Fry until golden brown on both sides.
Serve with my cucumber relish or pickled carrots & daikon. Makes great appetizers or enjoy with steam rice for a complete meal.
I’ve been having a lot of sweet cravings lately. This is not helping my new year resolution to loose weight. I was at the Asian supermarket a couple days ago and the fresh fruit selection this season does not look appealing to me not to mention the sky high prices. As I wander down the can goods isle I picked up a couple cans of fruits in syrup, jack fruit and the palm seeds. Those two are my favorites. I’m not too fond of the lychees, logans or rambutans in a can. I prefer those fresh which of course is extremely hard to find because they have to be imported to the USA from elsewhere meaning I have to pay an arm and a leg for them when it’s in season. Try to stay away from the can that says “in heavy syrup” as it can be too sweet unless that is what you are trying to achieve. I like my desserts on the not too sweet side.
I was going to eat them right out of the can but changed my mind when thought about how I have not post any recipes up for awhile. I decide to take the quick and easy route by making បង្អែមបបរខ្នុរ (Baw Baw Knaow) Jackfruit & Tapioca Pearls in Coconut Milk aka Jackfruit Pudding. Ingredients and steps are similar to my Corn & Tapioca Pearl in Coconut Milk. Some people like to make this using sticky rice. I did not have the patience to soak my sticky rice for several hours or wait until tomorrow to make this so I took the quick and easy way out.
Jackfruit & Tapioca Pearl in Coconut Milk (makes 3-4 servings)
(Baw Baw Knaow) បង្អែមបបរខ្នុរ
1 can jackfruit (20 oz size)
1 ½ cup water
4 tablespoons small size tapioca pearl (more if you prefer a thicker consistency)
1 can coconut milk (13 oz)
1/3 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Strain jackfruit from can and slice them. Set aside.
In a pot bring water to a boil and add tapioca pearls. Cook for 2-3 minutes then simmer for another 10 minutes or until the pearls turns translucent (no whites). Stir occasionally so they don’t stick. Larger tapioca will take longer to cook.
Add the remainder ingredients and cook for about 5-7 minutes stirring. Then simmer low until the sauce thickens. Again, stir occasionally so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Taste and adjust the sweetness to your preference. Turn off the heat.
Add slice jackfruit.
Serve warm or cold.
Note: The warm heat will soften the jackfruit. If you prefer a crunchy texture then allow the coconut milk mixture to cool completely before adding the slice jackfruit. Another option is to add when warm but allow the entire pot to cool in the fridge. This will also thicken it up.