Archive for August, 2009

Jungle Fish in Banana Leaves

I have been eating a lot of meat & poultry these past weeks so I wanted to incorporate some fish into my menu. There are some fish dish that I normally make such as Chinese Style Steamed Fish or pan fried/grilled with just a simple marinade of salt, sugar and black pepper. However, I want to introduce my taste buds to some new flavors and what did I do? Browsed through my collection of cookbook and came across this Jungle Fish in Banana Leaves ត្រីព្រៃអាំងខ្ចប់ស្លឹកចេក from the book entitled “The Food & Cooking of Cambodia”. The recipe looked simple enough so I put it to the test with some adjustments.

“Steaming freshwater fish in banana leaves over hot charcoal is a traditional method of cooking in the jungle. Banana leaves are large and tough, and serve as basic cooking vessels and wrappers for all sorts of fish and meat.” The outcome? It was pretty good. The banana leaves gave a really nice sweet aroma when grilled. I think the fish itself can be grilled whole without the banana leaves but because it was cut up into bite size pieces it absorb a lot of the marinade. If you don’t have banana leaves you can just wrap it in foil and line it with parchment/wax paper so it doesn’t stick.

Ingredients
6 oz fish fillets, cut into bite size pieces
4 banana leaves, rinse and wiped

Marinade
1 shallot, grated
1 inch turmeric root, peeled and grated
1 spring onion, sliced
4-5 Thai chillies, chopped (optional)
1 big cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon palm sugar
a dash of salt & pepper

Note: I used the individually packed skinless and boneless frozen tilapia fillets which I defrost in the fridge. You can also use other fresh water fish fillets such as trout, carp or catfish. Banana leaves can be found in the frozen section (where spring rolls wrappers are located). Alternatively you can use 1 teaspoon turmeric powder.

Method:
Combine all ingredients for the marinade and toss chunks of fish. Stir to mix. Cover and chill for about 1-2 hours, or overnight.

Prepare your grill or barbecue. Place one of the banana leaves on a flat surface and place marinated fish in the center spreading it out evenly, then fold the sides to form a parcel. Place the parcel, fold side down, on top of another leave and fold that one in the same manner. Secure it with a toothpick or a piece of bendy wire. Repeat with the remaining leaves.

Place the parcel on the grill and cooked for about 10-15 minutes on each side. The outer leaves will burn. Carefully unravel the parcel. Check that the fish is cooked and serve with hot steamed rice. ENJOY!

Banh Xeo/Banh Cheo Puff

Banh Xeo Puff
Banh Xeo Puff

My garden is filled with fresh herbs this time of year so I have been planning dishes around them. Google around and came across great food photos of Banh Xeo (Banh Cheo) which is a Cambodian adaptation of the Vietnamese pancake/crepe with fillings and eaten with assorted fresh herbs, wrapped in lettuce and dipped into fish sauce. B-I-N-G-O! I haven’t made Banh Xeo in a long time, I believe since last summer, so now is a perfect time. However, I recently got my new Pancake Puff Pan (at Walgreens for $19.99) for something I want to try and make in the future so why not put the pan to the test today and make it a Banh Xeo Puff ​​បាញ់ឆែវក្នុងអំបែង?

It turns out that we love Banh Xeo made this way. Why? Because it’s very easy to make and eat. As you can see from the picture, each Banh Xeo puff is just the perfect bite size for the lettuce and herb wrap. Not messy at all. However, due to it’s size I wasn’t able to add fresh bean sprout like I would if I were to make it the traditional way which is on a flat pan fold in half like a crescent. I took a little shortcut by purchasing the already prepared Banh Xeo flour which has rice flour, turmeric powder and salt. You just have to add water, coconut milk and chopped green onions. Simple huh? :) This is just another fun way to enjoy Banh Xeo. My recipe and steps here is pretty much similar to the traditional way of making Banh Xeo for those who would like to try it out.

Ingredients

Batter

6 oz prepared banh xeo flour
1 small can 5.6 fl oz coconut milk
3 stalk green onion (scallion), green portion only
1 3/4 cup water
oil for coating

Filling/Topping
½ lb ground pork or chicken
¼ onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
20-25 shrimp, peeled and devein

Dip with fish sauce (see recipe)

Wrap with fresh lettuce, slice cucumber, fresh herbs such as spearmint, Asian mint, cilantro, basil, or fishwort.

Method:
Combine all ingredients in the batter and mix well. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Make the filling. In a hot pan cook the ground pork until brown. Add chopped onion along with sugar and fish sauce. Combine and allow liquid to evaporate. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

To make Banh Xeo, heat your puff/pan and coat with oil. Tip: Use a brush or a paper towel wrapped around a chop stick. Test with a drop of batter. If it sizzle then it’s ready. Add a small amount of batter in puff/pan. You might want to lower the heat so it doesn’t burn as the batter cooks pretty fast. If using a pan, you want to tilt it around so they spread evenly and thinly. If using a puff pan, fill about 3/4 of the way. Top the batter with the filling and add shrimp (put the filling on just one side if using a regular pan) . Use a lid and cover the puff/pan. Wait about 2-3 minutes depending on how thin/thick your batter is. For the puff, use a skewer to remove it, but for the pan just fold the other half creating a crescent shape. Transfer to a serving plate.

Serve with fresh herbs and vegetables like cucumbers with fish sauce for dipping on the side.

Fish Sauce for Dipping

I like to make my Fish Sauce for Dipping ទឹកត្រីជ្រលក់ well in advance and not have to worry about it when preparing certain dishes. When I get a chance, I would make it in large quantities and store it in the fridge. You can keep it in there for months if done right. My Fish Sauce for Dipping recipe is pretty simple. What ever instrument you use to measure keep it consistence throughout.

Ratio & Ingredients
1 fish sauce
1 vinegar
1 sugar
2-2.5 hot/warm water

Variations
Some like to add peanuts, pickled carrots & daikon, sambal oleak, or chopped fresh garlic and slice chili. If serving right away you can also substitute vinegar with fresh lime juice. If you are making this in large quantities for later use, then I suggest you add them right before serving and not when you store it because these extra ingredients might spoil the sauce in a matter of days.

Method:
Combine fish sauce, vinegar and sugar. Pour hot water into the mixture and stir until sugar is dissolve. Transfer into storage container and store it in the fridge. Reuse those little empty sauce/paste glass jars. They work great! What I used this time around was an empty Starbuck Frap glass jar. If you decide to reuse plastic soda bottle it is a good idea to mark the bottle just in case someone grab it for a drink by mistake.

Here are some of the dishes that taste great with this dipping sauce:

Banh Cheiv or Banh Xeo- a Khmer adaptation of the Vietnamese Crepe/Pancake
Spring Roll (Fresh)
Egg Roll (Fried)
Cambodian Mini Rice Cake (Num Krook នុំគ្រក់)
Banh Hoi – Vermicelli Rice Noodles
Cambodian Fried Rice Noodles with Eggs (Kui Teav Cha គុវទាវឆារ)

Phnom Penh Noodle Shortcut

Phnom Penh Noodle Soup

Phnom Penh Noodle Soup

I have been craving for noodle soup pretty often lately, particularly Cambodian or Thai noodle soup. And what’s widely available in my area is the infamous Vietnamese Pho grrrr. There’s something in the Pho broth that bugs me. Perhaps it’s the heavy spice they use like the star anise and cloves. Whatever it is I am not a fan of Pho. I usually just settle for the Chicken Noodle or Seafood Noodle when I order because it uses a different type of broth.

I wasn’t born in Cambodia and when I had a chance to go visit I’ve only spent like a little over a week in Phnom Penh. My time exploring with food was pretty limited. I ate a lot of fish. You can see the types of fish dish Cambodia has to offer by viewing my video I made about the FOOD of CAMBODIA. Although my time was short my memory of the dishes lives on especially the Ground Pork Noodle Soup I had on my way to visit some relatives in Banteay Mean Chey province. The noodle shop is situated along Cambodia’s national road #5 in Battambang province right at the footstep on your way up to Phnom Thom temple. That noodle soup was THE BOMB! Perhaps it was the loaded fresh ground pork that made all the difference. A noodle soup that is close to this would be the famous Phnom Penh Noodle Soup which consist of not only ground pork but also pork, garlic and shallots. There’s a Khmer restaurant called Mitapheap in Stockton, CA that serves pretty good Phnom Penh Noodle. My family in Stockton goes there often and I usually join them when ever I’m in town.

Because I don’t want to drive hours just to have my bowl of Phnom Penh Noodle Soup and because I don’t feel like preparing the broth for hours, I think I’ve found a quick and easy remedy to this. I’m calling it the Phnom Penh Noodle Soup Shortcut គុយទាវភ្នំពេញផ្លូវកាត់ because not only was it effortless (at least for me) to put together but I felt that the taste was sort of similar to the those rich flavors of a broth that has been simmer for hours. In my shortcut version here the broth was flavored with chopped onions and a little help from chicken bullion in addition to ground pork, sugar and fish sauce. I also added slice pork, shrimp and cuttlefish. My condiments include fried garlic, lime juice, my home made pickled jalapeños and hoisin sauce. Feel free to create your own topping and condiments. Do try my recipe and let me know what you think of it.

Phnom Penh Noodle Soup Ingredients

Phnom Penh Noodle Soup Ingredients

Ingredients
4 cups of water
¼ onion, chopped
3 tablespoons ground pork
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
½ chicken or pork bullion
6 oz dried rice stick, pre-soak in warm water for 30 minutes

Ideas for toppings/condiments
slice pork
shrimp
cuttlefish or pork/shrimp/fish balls
fried garlic/shallots
hoisin sauce
siracha chili sauce
pickled jalapeños (see my recipe)
mung bean sprouts
cilantro
lime juice

Method:
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the ground pork breaking it up as you put it into the pot. Once the broth returns to a boil add the chopped onion followed by chicken bullion. Stir to dissolve. Add sugar and fish sauce then simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile in another pot bring about 8 cups of water to a boil. .Strain the pre-soak noodles and separate the noodles into 2 servings. Cook in boiling water until soften about 1-2 minutes. Empty the noodles (straining all the liquid back into the pot) into serving bowl.

It is now ready to assemble. Add additional toppings of your choice. The meat such as slice pork or seafood should be cook it in the broth. This will add another layer of flavor to the broth. It can also be prepared ahead of time and refrigerate until you are ready to use it. Ladle about 2 cups broth into each bowl, distributing the hot broth evenly to warm all the ingredients. Serve immediately with garnishes and your choice of condiments.

Grilled Pork Patties with Cucumber Relish

Grilled Pork Patties with Cucumber Salad

Grilled Pork Patties with Cucumber Relish

Here’s a tasty recipe that I’ve found from various resource online and adapted to fit my taste bud. It is very easy and oh so delicious that I wanted to share with my readers.

My Mother had made fish cake and chicken patties in the past but I don’t think I recall her making patties out of pork before. Or maybe she had and I just don’t remember. LOL Anyhow, the other day I bought a lot of ground pork for various dish but as soon as I came across these recipe for pork patties I immediately wanted to try it out, even more so when it is “grilled” and not “fried” like fish cake. The recipe called for simple ingredients I had handy but my concern was more on how I was going to form the patty. I remember my Mother used to complained tell me that her fish cake came out a bit uneven on sizes and shape and that she used a plastic lid from a pickled jar to form the patties. 😀 So once I got my mixture ready my mind was ticking. Suddenly I got an “ah-ha” moment. LOL :mrgreen: I made a test run by forming my patties with my little 3″ sauce dish. It worked out perfectly, at least in my opinion. :) If you don’t have a jar lid or these little sauce dish you can just roll it in a ball and then press it flat to form the patties. You can also keep them round and make pork meatballs. Just stick them on a soaked skewer so it’s easier to grill.

Anything grilled goes well with pickled veggies, salad or relish. I choose to accompany my grilled pork patties with garden fresh cucumber relish. These wonderful crisp organic cucumbers were growing in my backyard so it was a great opportunity for me to use them. Here’s my take on Grilled Pork Patties with Cucumber Relish ប្រហឹតសាច់ជ្រូកនឹងជ្រុកត្រសក់.

Organic Garden Fresh Cucumbers

Organic Garden Fresh Cucumbers

Ingredients
1.5 lbs ground pork
1 head of garlic (about 12 cloves), finely chopped I use my garlic presser which saved lots of time
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2.5 tablespoons baking powder This is what gives it that nice and bouncy texture. It also helps keep the meat in shape and not too sticky when you form it.
1/8 cup water
1 tablespoon caramel sugar (optional)

Cucumber Relish
2 medium cucumber, halves seed removed and sliced diagonally
3-4 shallots, sliced
5 red chillies (optional)
1 tablespoon unsalted roasted peanut, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar (rice or distilled)
2 tablespoons warm-hot water

Method:
In a mixing bowl combine meat, garlic, black pepper, sugar, and salt. Mix the ingredients thoroughly.

Next, mix the baking powder with water and whisk until you get a nice foam. Add it to the pork and fold it in with the mixture. Incorporate caramel sugar if using. This gives the patty a nice golden brown color when grilling. You can make the caramel by bringing 1 tablespoon sugar and ½ tablespoon water to a boil and then simmer until the sugar brown.

Allow everything to mingle in the fridge for about 1-2 hours. This will make it easier to form the patties.

When it’s ready, use the lid of a jar, a small sauce dish, a cookie cutter, or your palms to form a patty or meatballs. Grill about 15 minutes on each side. My recipe here makes 17 patties (3″ inches). These patties freeze well. If you plan to do so, line the patties with wax/parchment paper so it doesn’t stick and freeze them individually (single layer). Once frozen, you can transfer them into a zip lock bag and grill them at a later time. There is no need to thaw them.

To make the cucumber relish, combine slice cucumbers and shallots. Mix together sugar, fish sauce, vinegar and water. Stir until the sugar is dissolve then add it to cucumber and shallots. Allow to pickle for about 15 minutes. Just before serving top with chilies and peanuts.

Sweet Lil’ Rice Dumplings

Sweet Lil Rice Dumplings

Sweet Lil’ Rice Dumplings

They said that food is both a friend and enemy of stress. This is so true especially when it comes to desserts. It’s an enemy because, well you know, desserts are loaded with calories so it’s going to make you blow up like a balloon (unless you have it in moderation which is doubtful when you are under stress). I’m feeling a bit stress out lately and I find that cooking especially making Cambodian desserts helps ease my mind and turn my focus on my dishes. Many Cambodian dessert requires a lot of patience and attention to detail such as this Sweet Lil’ Rice Dumplings ​​​នុំផ្លែអាយ made with glutinous rice flour stuffed with luscious sweet palm sugar and topped with shredded coconut Mmmmmmmm. 😛 It’s another one of my favorite Cambodian dessert.

There’s a funny story behind this dessert and it’s nickname. My first time experiencing this dessert was at an Asian Market. I didn’t know what they were called then and I had a hard time describing it to my Mother. She told me that it’s also refer to as “Num somlap pdey នុំសម្លាប់ប្តី” which translate to “dessert that kills your husband”. How could a delicious dessert turns into a murder weapon? I later found out that because glutinous rice flour has this soft, smooth, and chewy texture it can sometime be a choking hazardous if not eaten carefully. In addition, because there are palm sugar nested inside it might still be hot when you bite into it. Assuming that the husband doesn’t realize this he might swallow one without giving much thought. Next thing you know…? Well you can play with your imaginations. LOL 😀 So all, please be carefully when enjoying these sweet lil’ dumplings. It might not be suitable for small children or elders with dentures. If serving to your significant others, you might want to let them know what’s inside.

Ingredients
makes about 35 balls

¾ cup shaved palm sugar (If they come in blocks, use your knife to shave it off)
1 ½ cup glutinous rice flour
½ cup hot/warm water
1 pkg shredded coconut
1 tablespoon sesame seed
1 teaspoon salt

Method:
Pinch off pieces of palm sugar and roll them into small balls about the size of a dime. Once done transfer it to the freezer so that they say nice, firm and round (figure 1).

In a mixing bowl add rice flour and make a well in the center and gradually pour in the water, drawing in the flour from the sides. Begin kneading to form a dough. You should not use more than ½ cup of water otherwise the dough will get too sticky to handle and you will end up adding more flour. The heat and pressure from your hands will help warm the dough so that it’s easier to knead. Separate them and form a sausage-like roll. Make equal size marking (figure 2).

Remove palm sugar balls from freezer.

Roll the divided dough into a ball and then flatten it into a circle (you will want to make the same number of rice flour circles as there are sugar balls). Place a ball of palm sugar in the center and seal it by pinching and rolling the dough to smooth the edges. Repeat with the remaining dough and palm sugar balls (figure 3).

Once the balls are made bring 8 cups of water to a boil and drop in the filled dumplings and cook for a few minutes, until they rise to the surface. Once cooked, drain the dumplings on paper towel or a colander. They tend to stick to paper towels sometimes.

Lightly toast the sesame seeds on medium heat. DO NOT STEP AWAY from it. Toss or shake them so they toast evenly until light brown and crisp. Transfer it to a mortal & pestle and pound briefly to release their flavor. Mix the sesame seeds with the salt.

Now it’s time to plate it up. Arrange dumplings on a plate and sprinkle with the sesame-seed mixture topped with shredded coconut. Serve immediately.

Marinated Beef with Lime Sauce aka Loc Lak

Marinated Beef with Lime Sauce aka Loc Lak

Marinated Beef with Lime Sauce aka Loc Lak

A beautiful dish that is simple to make.  Can be served as a salad or as a meal with rice. I read somewhere that Beef Loc Lak ឡុកឡាក់សាច់គោ was introduce to Cambodia by the Vietnamese. Due to it’s close proximity the two countries has a lot of cultural and cuisine exchanges. Although each country has it’s own variation depending on the regions, both countries refer to it with the same name “Loc Lak”. I’m not going to go into details about the origin or history of this dish. If you like to read more, you can go to Phnomenon post about this subject. All that matters to me is that the dish taste good. :)

Don’t get discourage by the lengthy list of ingredients. It’s all in the preparation. The cooking time goes by very quick.

Ingredients

Beef Marinade
1 lb beef cut into 1 inch cube – I like to use the cross rib steak as I find it tender and juicy
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
½ tablespoon fish sauce
½ tablespoon sesame seed oil
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

Vinaigrette
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Lime Sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crush red pepper (optional)

1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 head of leaf lettuce, separated into leaves
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced

Cooking oil for frying

Other additions include: hard boil eggs, hard boil quail eggs, slice cucumbers, watercress, and water spinach

Method:
First make the marinade by combining the ingredients in a bowl. Add the beef and stir to coat. Set aside for about 30 minutes. If longer than 30 minutes then marinate in the fridge.

Slice onions and add it to the vinaigrette. Allow that to lightly pickle for 5-10 minutes.

Make the lime sauce and set aside.

While those are going prepare the bed of lettuce on a serving platter. Add slice tomatoes and onions along with vinaigrette when ready.

Heat a pan with oil and wait until the oil starts to smoke. Add the cube marinaded beef carefully not to overcrowd them. Wait a couple of minutes for the beef to sear before you start to move them. Do the same on all sides. Pan sear them in batches if you have to. Cook the beef to your perfection. Once done transfer them on top of the vegetable platter.

Serve with lime & salt dip on the side. This dish can be served as a salad or with some steam rice for a complete meal.

I sometime like to make lettuce wrap by taking the tender chunks of beef and wrapped in lettuce leaves then dipped in the piquant lime sauce. This requires your finger. If you don’t want to use your hands then you can chop the lettuce into bite size before making a bed.

Mung Bean Dumplings in Coconut Syrup

Mung Bean Dumplings in Coconut Syrup

Mung Bean Dumplings in Coconut Syrup

For my love of mung beans in dessert here is my attempt to put them into use again. I have to add this dessert to my list of favorites. It’s so G-O-O-D and since it’s in a soupy form it goes down quick as well unlike my Sweet Jackfruit Seed dessert which was in a cookie form that can be savor little by little. This one is very similar to my other favorite which is the Sweet Rice Dumplings stuffed with Mung Bean in Ginger Syrup in Khmer called Banh Ja’neuk បាញ់ចានឿក. This is sort of like similar; instead of the mung beans inside the glutinous rice ball, it is combined together with the rice flour to create this very heavenly smooth, sweet and yummy taste when you bite into it. The syrup is very simple; coconut milk with palm sugar with pinch of salt to balance it out and a touch of vanilla extract for that nice aroma. I wonder how it would be if I were to use the Ginger Syrup for these cute little mung beans dumplings? Hmmmm… my curious mind, perhaps next time I will put it to the test. In the meantime enjoy my recipe for this mouthwatering Mung Bean Dumplings in Coconut Syrup​ (Krop Sondake Knong Ktiss Tnawt) គ្រាប់សណ្តែកក្នុងខ្ទៈត្នោត .

Ingredients
3 oz split mung beans
1 can coconut cream (13.5 oz)
2 oz pure palm sugar
½ cup glutinous rice flour
1/3 cup of water + ½ cup of water for syrup (optional)
1-2 drops of pure vanilla extra
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed (optional)

Method:
Soak mung beans in warm water for at least 3-4 hours. It’s best to do it overnight. Rinse and drain the mung bean. If possible, wrap in cheesecloth. This helps prevent it from sticking. Steam for about 20-25 minutes until soften. Transfer small amount at a time to a mortar & pestle and mash to a paste. If your blender is capable of blending dry ingredients, then by all means use it. It will help save a lot of time. Or you can get a nice arm workout by pounding as well.

Reserve 1 cup of coconut milk and pour the remainder in a pot. Add palm sugar, a pinch of salt and water (optional). We don’t like our dessert too sweet so I thin it out. Stir until the palm sugar dissolves then turn off the heat.

Mix the mash mung beans with glutinous rice flour. If you want to sweeten the dough you can add granulated sugar. Pour warm water a little at a time and start forming a dough. You should not use more than 1/3 cup of water.

  • As you form the dough use your hands and palm to knead the dough until soften (figure 1).
  • Once the dough is form divide and roll it out like sausage with the palms of your hands. Then use a knife to mark about ½ inch a part. This serves as a guide so your dumplings are of equal size (figure 2).
  • Now comes the fun part. Grab the dough by the marking and start forming a ball. If the dough cracks you can dip your fingers in warm water and press it. Make about 50 dime size ball and set aside (figure 3).
  • In a pot of boiling water drop the dumplings in batches. Don’t overcrowd them. It will float to the top when it is cook. Remove them from the boiling water and add to the coconut syrup. This will prevent them from sticking together (figure 4).

Once all dumplings is in the syrup add the reserve 1 cup of coconut milk and a couple drops of vanilla extract. Turn the heat back up and bring to a boil then simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Wait until cool before serving. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seed when serving.

Stuffed Tomatoes Soup

Stuffed Tomatoes Soup with Pork

Stuffed Tomatoes Soup with Pork

Tomatoes in my garden are growing pretty wild now as it’s almost the end of season. I’ve been planning my recipes around the tomatoes 😀 and yesterday I decided to revisit an old recipe that use these tomatoes. Stuffed tomatoes soup with ground pork ស៊ុបប៉េងប៉ោះញាត់សាច់ជ្រូក is very light and delicious! I could actually eat this with a piece of toast. It would make a nice lunch too but I had it during dinner so it went well with my hot steamed rice.

Organic Tomatoes from my Garden

Organic Tomatoes from my Garden

Ingredients
5 slightly under ripe, firm tomatoes (so they don’t fall apart when cooked)
3/4 lb ground pork
1-2 scallions (green onions) white parts only, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro stems or the green portion of the scallions
½ teaspoon ground black or white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (14oz) chicken stock
½ cup of water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 tbs oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Method:
Clean the tomatoes and cut the top off (reserve for garnish or discard). Using a pairing knife and a small spoon such as a teaspoon to scoop out the tomatoes flesh. Reserve about 2 tablespoon of the chopped flesh. Reserve the rest for some other dish or discard it. :) Rinse and turn the tomatoes upside down and set on a paper towel to drain.

Hollowed Out Tomatoes

Hollowed Out Tomatoes

While tomatoes are draining prepare the stuffing. In a bowl mix together the pork, scallions, sugar, salt, pepper along with the chopped tomato flesh and set aside.

Stuff the tomatoes with the pork mixture. Start by pressing the filling all around the inside of the tomatoes first. This will help the tomatoes keep it’s shape when cooking. Then add fillings to the middle.

Heat oil in a pan and brown the garlic until golden brown. Be careful not to burn it. Remove and drain on paper towel. In the same pan add the stuffed tomatoes with the filling down. This helps to seal the stuffing so that they do not spill over when they are cooking. It only takes a couple of minute.

Next flip the tomatoes back in it’s upward position and add water and chicken stock. If there is too much oil remaining in the pan, you can pour it out first before adding the liquid. Bring it to a boil and add sugar and fish sauce. Then simmer covered on low for about 5-10 minutes. This will allow the fillings to cook thoroughly and by keeping the heat low you will also keep the tomatoes in it’s shape.

Before turning off the heat taste the broth and adjust accordingly. To serve ladle to a soup bowl/plate and add fried garlic. Garnish with scallions or cilantro sprigs.

Cambodian Style Hot Pot

Cambodian (Khmer) Style Hot Pot

Cambodian (Khmer) Style Hot Pot

My family calls it Yao Hon យ៉ាវហន while others calls it “Chhnang Pleurng​​ ឆ្នាំងភ្លើង” which literally means Fire Pot. I think the later one sort of suits more. Matter of fact, I don’t even know how we got the name Yao Hon. If anybody knows, please do share. :) It sound kind of Chinese? ​ Hot pot is great to enjoy in groups as it encourage socializing in an informal setting.

I get my vegetable nutrients the most when having it as a side dish for hot pot. However I am a bit picky when it comes to vegetable selections. There are only a couple that are my “must have” such as Watercress, Cabbage and the latest Chrysanthemum leaves (Tang O or Tang Oh). Anything other than that aren’t necessary but I don’t mind eating either. 😛 As for the meat I am not much of a fan for beef anymore. I think it’s because when ever I decide to make hot pot it’s usually because I want to eat my vegetables so meat is secondary. But it does add another layer of rich flavor to the broth so I usually have it available as well. 😀 Another item I like to also have is cuttlefish or squid. Hot Pot is also a great way to to clear out your fridge by using up your meats and vegetables. Mind sharing your favorite hot pot side dishes?

It seems like everybody has their own way of making the broth depending on many factors. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way. My version of Yao Hon broth is pretty rich and flavorful not to mention spicy as well. It uses a lot of different spices such as bean curd, BBQ sauce and Satay Sauce. In addition you can also add a combination of water, chicken stock, Coco Rico, or your choice of beer. Yeah you heard me right, I add beer to mine. 😀 No you won’t get buzz or drunk because the alcohol pretty much evaporates during the cooking process. I made a very big pot of broth because I plan to freeze and enjoy the other half at a later time. Adjust amount accordingly.

Ingredients
1 jar (13 oz) fermented bean curd with or without chili
3 full tablespoons hot & spicy BBQ sauce – Asian Style, look for the tin jar as pictured
4 tablespoons BBQ sauce (the jar specify it’s for Yao Hon), it taste like Satay Sauce
1 can pineapple, drained and cut into bite size
1 can chicken stock (14 oz)
2 can water – use the empty chicken stock can to measure
1 12oz bottle Guinness Beer – substitute with either Coco Rico or other type of clear soda drinks
sugar & fish sauce to taste

Side Dishes: Select your choice of meats & vegetables. Here i have some cabbage, watercress, spinach, chrysanthemum leaves, seafood mix, beef and some left-over grilled chicken from Chinese take-out the night before.

Method:
In a large pot empty the jar of bean curd and break it down to a smooth paste. Once it’s broken, turn on the heat and add the BBQ sauce, satay sauce, chicken stock, water, and the soda. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes and simmer another 7-10 minutes.

Just before you are about to turn off the heat add the pineapple. Season with sugar and fish sauce. I did not provide measurements because the flavor will depends on what type of liquid you are using. For example, if you are using Coco Rico it has a sweetness flavor already so you might want to cut down on adding sugar.

Transfer the broth to your hot pot and wait for it to boil again then start adding your meats and vegetables. Some like to have it with noodles while others like me prefer just plain-o steamed rice. :)

For sanitary purposes it’s best to use a separate utensil to pick up your raw meats.

Have fun and enjoy your Cambodian Style Hot Pot 😀

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