Archive for July, 2010

Cambodian Stir-Fried Pork with Squash

I love squash especially kabocha and butternut squash. The beautiful bright golden color makes not only a delicious treat but an eye catching one as well. They are used in serveral Cambodian dishes such as in this Stir-Fried Pork with Squash, Cambodian Steamed Squash in Banana Leaves (Num Lapov), Cambodian Ratatouille Soup (Somlaw Koko), Steamed Custard (Lapov Songkya) and many more. When my Mother use it in Somlaw Koko I usually pick only the squash and leave the rest to others.

Here’s a fun food fact history. The kabocha, however, was introduced to Japan by Portuguese sailors in 1541, who brought it with them from Cambodia. The Portuguese name for the pumpkin, Cambodia abóbora (カンボジャ・アボボラ), was shortened by the Japanese to kabocha. (source Wikipedia)

Cambodian Stir-Fried Pork with Squash (makes 1-2 serving)
(Cha Lapov Sach Jrook)

1 small squash (kabocha or butternut squash), sliced
8 oz pork, sliced
2 stalks green onion (scallions)
5 bird’s eye chilies (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
dash of black pepper

Heat oil in a frying pan and add garlic. Quickly stir it around to prevent burning. Add chillies if using. Stir another 2-3 seconds until the chili starts to release it’s fragrant.

Add sliced pork and stir fry until they are at least 80% cooked.

Season with sugar, oyster sauce, and fish sauce. Stir to coat.

Toss in squash and stir to coat again. Cook 2-3 minutes depending on your preference of texture. Some like to have a bit of crunch while others prefer it nice and soft.

Turn off the heat and stir in green onions.

Serve with hot steamed rice. ENJOY!

Khatiya’s Cambodian Beef Sticks

What do you picture when Khmer beef sticks is mentioned? For me the memories of Khmer New Year or friends and family gathering comes into play. Cambodian beef sticks is sort of like Hot Dogs to the Americans. Almost no Cambodian events is left without, especially if it involves barbecuing. It makes outdoor entertaining fun and festive. They can be easily assembled ahead of time and grilled to perfection in minutes!

There are many different variations to the marinaded and after a couple of test I think I’ve discovered my best. My Cambodian beef sticks uses fresh, tender and juicy boneless chuck steaks. These comes with a bit of fat which prevents the meat from tasting dry and chewy. The beef is then sliced thinly and marinated with a combination of my Mother’s Lemongrass Paste (Kroeung) and a few of my ingredient picks such as the coconut milk which add this awesome aroma when the beef sticks are grilled. Serve with either my Cambodian Pickled Green Papaya or Pickled Carrots and Daikon.

Khatiya’s Cambodian Beef Sticks (makes 15 beef sticks)
(Sach Ko Ja’kak Roboss Khatiya) សាច់គោចង្កាក់របស់​ខត្តិយ៉ា

2 lbs beef (chuck steak boneless)
1 dried red pepper, pre-soak in hot water until soften, then discard liquid, stems, and seeds)
¼ cup Lemongrass Paste (Kroeung)
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon crushed peanut
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
15 bamboo skewer/sticks, soak in water 20-30 mins to prevent from burning while grilling

Slice beef about ¼ inch thick and set aside in a large mixing bowl.

In a blender add dried red pepper, Lemongrass Paste (Kroeung) and salt. Mix until smooth. If necessary add water in small amount just to get the blender going. Blend until smooth. Makes about ½ cup.

Transfer blended mixture to another bowl followed by coconut milk, crushed peanuts, fish sauce and sugar. Mix all these ingredients together to form a marinade.

Pour marinade over meat and mix thoroughly. You may wish to wear gloves to avoid stains from the lemongrass paste and red pigment.

Thread beef onto bamboo skewer and cover with plastic wrap. You can allow it to marinate on the skewer in the refrigerator for 4 hours, or overnight. Or you can marinate it first then thread it onto the bamboo skewer.

Allow meat to reach room temperature to remove the chill.

Preheat the grill to hot; grill the skewered beef on both sides until browned. Alternatively you can cook the meat on a hot barbecue grill. Serve with my Cambodian Pickled Green Papaya or Pickled Carrots and Daikon.

Note: Un-cooked beef sticks can be kept in frozen in freezer bags. Thaw in the fridge and allow to reach room temperature prior to grilling.

Cambodian Pickled Lime

This is a re-post of my pickled lime recipe that I shared perhaps 4-years ago? When I redesign my website this recipe is one of a few that did not get transfered.

Pickled lime is a key ingredient when making the infamous Cambodian Pickled Lime Chicken Soup ស្ងោរម៉ាន់ណាំងូវ (Sngor Mon Num Ngov).

Advance preparation is required. The process of making Num Ngow is fairly simple, but it’s the preserving process that is time consuming. Basically you make it and forget, for awhile that is.

Pickled Lime(makes 20 pickled lime)
(Num Ngov) ណាំងូវ

20 limes
½ cup sugar
1 cup salt
3 quarts water
clean container large to fit

Several weeks in advance rinse limes and let them dry (sit) in the sun for a week or so. Remember to rotate them often so that all sides get their fair share of sunshine. The color will change from green to yellow and eventually tan. It should be ready when the outer skin feels a bit harden to the touch. It will loose it round shape and some will appear to be inflated.

Use a damp towel and gently clean the skin as they might have collected dust while tanning. Arrange inside a clean plastic or glass container.

Set a pot on medium to low heat and add sugar. Constantly stir the sugar until it caramelize be careful not to burn it. The color will turn to a rich brown color.

Slowly add water and salt and stir to dissolve and incorporate. I usually allow the mixture to cool down a bit before pouring into the contained filled with sun-dried limes.

Close the container lid and leave it out on the counter for another week. After that you can store it in a cool dark cupboard. I usually wait at least a month before I use it. The longer you store it the more flavorful it gets.

*This was the only batch (20 limes) I’ve made in the past 4-years. Because of it’s rich flavor a recipe usually calls just for one pickled lime. If you made this much, it will last you a very long time.

Crispy Garlic Pork

Would you say NO to quick & easy flavor packed dishes that also comes with a crunch? Definitely not me. This one is no exception. Just a few ingredients along with some garnishes and you can achieve an eye pleasing and mouth-watering dish.

I love the crunchy flavor and texture that the panko bread crumbs gives off. My first experiment with panko bread crumb was in Panko Crusted Fish with Lemongrass Chili Sauce recipe. 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. If all you have is regular bread crumbs then you may substitute with that as well.

For an even bigger flavor you can marinade a day in advance but 2-3 hours prior in the fridge will also work too. I like to use pork cut that has a bit of fat as the leaner cut tend to taste a bit dry. An alternative to fresh garlic would be garlic powder. Make sure that the ingredient listed is garlic and no added salt, otherwise you will have to omit or adjust the salt content.

You can serve it fancy with a knife and fork along side pickled carrots and daikon or just grab a piece with your fingers and savor it with steamed rice YUM!

Crispy Garlic Pork (makes 1-2 servings accompany with other dishes)
(Sach Jrook Ktum Bompong) សាច់ជ្រូកខ្ទឹមបំពង

1/2 lb pork, slice 1/2 inch thick
5 gloves of garlic, peel and crushed
2-3 pinches salt
2-3 pinches black pepper
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
oil for frying

Rub pork with crushed garlic and sprinkle on salt & pepper on both sides. If you are using garlic powder, you can mix the three ingredients and sprinkle on them at one. Massage the pork so the marinade get well distribute. Marinade in the fridge.

Bring marinade pork and allow to sit at room temperate to remove the chill.

Spread panko bread crumbs evenly on a plate. Lay each pork cut on the plate and lightly press into the bread crumbs to evenly coat them. Repeat until both sides are coated. Set aside and repeat this process until all the pork are coated.

Heat enough oil in a pan on medium. *Tip: to conserve on oil, you can use a smaller but deep sauce pan/pot. While there is little surface space which means you might have to fry in batches, you will use less oil.

Test oil with a piece of bread crumbs. If it sizzle quickly then it’s ready. Carefully add the coated pork into the oil and fry until golden brown. Flip and repeat on the other side. Remove and drain on paper towel.

Arrange on a platter with garnishes and/or serve with pickled carrots and daikon . ENJOY!

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