Archive for February, 2010

Panko Crusted Fish with Lemongrass Chili Sauce

I got my inspiration for this dish after wandering along the frozen fish section of Costco. Some fish fillets cost up to $20 a bag! What I did was glance over and saw some of their frozen already crusted fish and immediately thought about my dinner. It’s been so long since I left Costco will less than $20 out of my pocket. Normally I drop close to $100 each visit. So very glad I can resist my temptation this time. :) Wonder I was end up getting? Definitely not those crusted fish fillets but a bag of bananas, a carton or eggs, 3 cucumbers and a case (12 cans) of corn kernels which I have yet to decide what to do with them.

Panko bread is a variety of bread crumb used in Japanese cuisine as a crunchy coating for fried foods. Panko is made from bread without crusts, thus it has a crisper, airier texture than most types of bread crumbs found in Western groceries. It flavorless really, and does not absorb as much oil when cook. Since my Lemongrass Chili sauce is a bit heavy on flavor I decided leave my fillets plain but with the crispy texture. You can choose to marinade the fish fillets first with a flavor of choice and then just coat it with the flour, egg and panko bread crumbs.

Panko Crusted Fish with Lemongrass Chili Sauce (Serves 2)
(Trey Jean Sroeuy Nung Tuk Mtess Kroeung) ត្រីចៀនស្រួយនិងទឹកម្ទេសគ្រឿង

2 fish fillets, I used tilapia
¼ cup rice flour, or any flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup oil for frying
green onions for garnish

Lemongrass Chili Sauce

2 tablespoons oil
1/2 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon Khmer Kroeung
1 tablespoon red pepper powder
1 teaspoon crush red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce

Rinse the fillets and pat dry. 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 floured fillet 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 fillet. Repeat this process until all fillets are done, set aside.

Heat oil in a frying pan and once they are hot add the fillets 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 both side and allow to rest on paper towel to remove excess oil, which should not be much.

Next, make the lemongrass chili sauce but heating oil and added diced onions. Stir and cook until soften then add garlic. Give it a quick stir to release it’s flavor and aroma. Do the same with the Khmer Kroeung. Adjust the heat accordingly so the ingredients does not burn. Add the remainder ingredients and finish off with several stirs. If you find the sauce a bit thick you can add more oil. Taste and adjust the flavors to your liking.

Plate it up and garnish with green onion. Serve with steamed rice.

Grilled Cornish Hen with Momofuku Octo Vinaigrette

I enjoy cooking but I have my lazy days as well. The other day I picked up a bag of frozen wings section because I wanted to make Buffalo Wings. While the wings were in the oven, I came online to catch up on blogs that I follow. One of my favorite food writer is Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen. She specializing in Asian cooking–recipes that are fast fresh and simple enough for tonight’s dinner. She also has her own cookbook called The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook currently available online and many bookstore shelves, sadly I can’t afford it so I sat in a corner and read it through. I love her writing style and the personal stories she adds to the recipes. One of her recent blog post featured the octo vinaigrette from Momofuku Cookbook by David Chang and Peter Meehan, which I do not own, again for the same reason. David Chang is the owner of not one but apparently three restaurants! I’ve never been to any of them, yet. :) Many of the food blogs I follow mentioned David Chang or Momofuku every now and then but it was at Steamy Kitchen Chicken Wings, Momofuku Style, where I found the recipe for the octo vinaigrette. That day the Buffalo Wings sauce was replaced with the octo vinaigrette. It was so easy to make and taste so good! I was too eager to test the wings that I didn’t get a chance to snap a shot.

This evening I decided to grill a small one pound Cornish hen (game hen) with octo vinaigrette again. A bit of butter was rub to achieve that extra crispy skin. I did tweak the octo vinaigrette a little to suit my taste bud. The thought of 2 tablespoons full of oil in a vinaigrette sort of frightens me. Instead I only use 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Also I ran out of red bird’s eye chili so I used the leftover green ones instead, seed and all. I did however, add chopped red bell pepper for color and a little extra crunch. Lettuce leaves were used as garnish but they end up as wrappers for the chicken and dipped into the vinaigrette, or in this case a sauce? 😀 Perhaps next time I might just add some rice noodles in the mix. 😛

Grilled Cornish with Momofuku Octo Vinaigrette
(Mon Ang Nung Tuk Jroluk Kngey Ktum​ Saw) ម៉ាន់អាំងទឹកជ្រលក់ខ្ញីខ្ទឹមសរ
adapt from Momofuku Cookbook via Steamy Kitchen

1 Cornish hen, 16 oz/1 lb
1 tablespoon butter

Octo Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh garlic
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
7 bird’s eye chili (use less, omit, or remove seeds to reduce the heat)
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup light soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped red bell pepper (optional)


Split hen in half with a sharp knife or poultry shears, cutting through the breast bone and back bone. Wash and rinse chicken, pat dry with paper towel. This can be done in advance and allow the chicken to dry in the fridge with a paper towel.

Cut up 1 tablespoon of butter into small pieces and rub it all over the chicken. Insert some pieces under the skin too. Grill with skin side up for about 20 minutes then flip to grill on the other side (skin side).

Meanwhile make the octo vinaigrette by combining all the ingredients and mixing them well.

Once the henis grilled remove from heat and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.

Lay lettuce leaves on a platter and arrange hen. Drizzle octo vinaigrette on the top and also reserve on the side for dipping .

Durian Muffins

This year Valentine’s Day also happen to coincide with the Chinese New Year, year of the Tiger Grrrr. 😀 While many might be out celebrating I wander into the kitchen at 8:30PM and began pulling out my flour and muffin pan in attempt to try and make Num Doat Toorain នុំដត់ធុរ៉េន durian muffins, a recipe adapt from my Banana Nut Muffin which was originally adapt from

My first attempt failed. :( It was after everything was combined when I realized that I had used self-rising flour and used a tablespoon to measure out baking powder instead of a teaspoon. I reduce the amount of sugar thinking that the durian probably is too sweet already. I also notice that the batter was stiff, so very different from my Banana Nut Muffin batter. Then comes my shortage of muffin pan. I had a 6 muffin pan and didn’t feel like baking them twice so I over-fill them intentionally. Nevertheless, I continued on and hope for the best. Well, the outcome was not good. The muffin was a bit under-cooked. I could still taste the flour even after it pass the toothpick test. What went wrong? I end up shaving the bottom of the muffins off and sort of pick and eat the muffin top because I had fill them with some durian pulp.

I was contemplating whether I should try again last night. The wait for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics prime-time pair figure skating to air was too long so in between I took my time and measured my ingredients carefully. I made a couple of adjustments – use less baking powder, up the sugar to ½ cup, add ¼ cup milk to thin out the batter. spread it to 12 muffins instead of 6. Again, fingers-crossed once it was in the baking oven.

The sweet aroma smell filled my house and I instantly smiled because it didn’t happen the night before. I had hope this time. When 25 minutes was up, I carefully sneak and peek and see that the edges had brown beautifully so I promptly removed it and allow it to rest. It wasn’t for long because I was too anxious to do a taste test. Then it was “eyes opened wide” and jaw dropping moment followed by “WOW”! It taste amazing! It reminds me of my Mother’s Bai Domnub Toorain បាយដំណើបធុរ៉េន​ Sticky Rice with Durian Pudding. I am using frozen durian for this recipe. If you have access to fresh durian then by all means, use it. If using frozen durian like me then allow it to defrost first.

Durian Muffins (makes 12 regular size muffins)
(Num Doat Toorain) នុំដុតធុរ៉េន

1 cup flour, sifted
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
¼ cup milk
1 lb (16oz) durian meat, divided

Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Use non-stick muffin pan or arrange baking cups in a muffin pan.

Mash half of the durian with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl add sifted flour, baking powder and sugar. Combine well.

Next make a well in the middle and add melted butter, vanilla extract, egg, milk and the remainder durian meat. Beat the ingredients with an electric mixer for 3 minutes or until all ingredients are mixed together.

Spoon the batter into each of the baking cup and fill about halfway. Give them a tap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.

Scoop out some durian pulp was was set aside and top it off.
Note: Another method is to fill the batter a little on the bottom, then add a scoop of the durain pulp in the middle and continue to fill it with batter. This method will cause the muffin to rise a bit higher since there is no durian pulp weighing it down.

Bake for 25 minutes. The beautiful aroma will fill your kitchen. The sides will turn brown. Allow to cool before diving into them.

Fish Congee | Fish Rice Porridge

For the past 2-weeks I’ve been having major, major problems trying to fall asleep and staying asleep til morning. I find myself walking up after 2-3 hours and this goes on through the night. Perhaps too many stuff is wandering in my head during the day that sort of creep up and followed me into my sleep. It’s causing me to have breakouts and triggers my dermatitis problems again. I really need to do something about it. I know that getting a good night sleep is crucial for a healthy weight, beautiful skin and not to mention a healthy and bright mind.

Last night was no difference and I end up turning in to bed way past midnight. I need to remind myself not to take late showers because the strange sounds from the water heater, which is right in front of my bedroom door, is scaring the crap out of me. I’m paranoid thinking that someone is walking or knocking at my door in the middle of the freaking’ night! CRAZY!

I woke up early this morning and made some Baw Baw Trey បបរត្រី, Fish Congee (Rice Porridge). This is more of a Chinese style congee due to it’s simplicity and the ingredients being use. The Cambodian version, at least the one I remembered my Mother use to make, use fish sauce, sugar, as some of the ingredients. It was also topped off with salted soy beans, and mung bean sprouts. If you don’t like fish, you can also try firm tofu or try my basic Congee | Rice porridge recipe with your favorite toppings. Maybe it’s my eating habits that is effecting my sleep? So here is a start to healthy eating and a better night sleep.

Fish Rice Porridge (makes 2 servings)
(Baw Baw Trey) បបរត្រី


3 tablespoons medium or long grain rice
3-3½ cups of water
1 fish fillet (I used tilapia)
1 inch ginger, thinly slice then cut into long strips
1 piece salted turnip, dice (optional)
1 green onion (scallion) leaf, thinly slice
a wedge of lime (optional)

Fish Marinade

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing wine)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon corn starch
2-3 dash white peper

Add rice and water into a pot and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for about 10 minutes then reduce to a low simmer, cover partially so that it doesn’t spill over. Stir occasionally making sure the grains doesn’t stick to the bottom. Cook for 45 minutes until you reach the desire consistency. If it’s too thick, add more water. If it’s too thin, you can also remove some liquid.

Make marinade and add to thinly slice fish. Marinade for about 10 minutes.

About 2-3 minutes before rice porridge is done add the marinade fish into the pot. Stir to combine. Cover and continue to cook. Fish is very delicate and since it was sliced thinly, it takes very little time to cook.

Ladle fish congee (rice porridge) to a bowl. Add ginger strips, green onion, salted turnip (if using). You can also add another dash of white pepper and/or drizzle some more soy sauce and sesame oil.

Serve hot with a wedge of lime.

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