Archive for October, 2010

Cambodian Green Mango and Salty Crab Salad

First of all I would like to give a BIG THANK YOU to all my fans for the get well wishes on my Facebook Fan Page. I feel so much better now.

Here is another appetizing dish that I made prior to getting sick. This dish stem from my craving for steamed sticky rice which is sold under the label “sweet rice” or “glutinous rice”. Sticky rice makes such a great pair with saucy dishes such as my Cambodian green mango and salty crab salad, ញុំាស្វាយខ្ចីក្តាមប្រៃ (Ngorm Swai Kjey Kdarm Prai). It soaks up all the flavorful juices that is left behind from the salad without getting soggy and falling apart like regular steamed white rice. The grains are more starchy than regular white rice therefore it contains a higher amount of calories and sugar per serving. It is suggested that you consume in small quantity because you might feel tired and sleepy afterward.

Refer to my simple green mango salad recipe for tip on how to choose the type of mango. As for the salty crab you can find it in the frozen section and it comes in a red tub (pictured above) . It is not completely frozen because of all the other ingredients that is mixed with it so you do not need to defrost it at all. Be careful not to pick up the tub with a green lid and label because that is salty crab that has been crushed up. That one comes in a solid state and you will need to defrost it prior to use.

Video Tutorial:

Cambodian Green Mango and Salty Crab Salad
(Ngorm Swai Kjey Kdarm Prai) ញុំាស្វាយខ្ចីក្តាមប្រៃ

1 tablespoon palm sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1½ tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon salty crab juice from the tub
2 garlic cloves, minced
7 bird’s eye chili, chopped (adjust amount to your liking)
½ cup salty crab, use your fingers to separate into pieces
2 shallots, sliced thinly
1 green mango (about 1 lb), shredded

To make the dressing add palm sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce in a bowl. Whisk until the sugar dissolves.

Follow by the juice from the salty crab, minced garlic, chili peppers, salty crab and shallots. Whisk to combine them together.

Add in the shredded green mango and toss gently to coat. Taste and adjust to your liking.

This salad is delicious as is or you can accompany it with other dishes such as grilled fish or poultry and even sticky rice for a complete meal. ENJOY!

Stir-Fried Water Spinach with Oyster Sauce

Stir-fried water spinach or morning glory with oyster sauce, ឆារត្រកួនព្រេងខ្យង (Cha Trokoun Prang Kjong) is one of my favorite vegetable side dish. I sometime load it up especially when it’s in season and simply enjoy it as a meal itself. It’s one of my favorite ADD (Asian Diet Dish). :)

Water spinach is a favorite vegetable among many Southeast Asian countries. Each has their own way of cooking it. Water spinach is declared by the USDA as a “noxious weed” . It grows too rapidly ( up to 4-inches a day) especially in the state of Florida which chokes out the state’s waterways, clogs up dams and water intakes and can kill an outboard motor in seconds. I wish my hair would grow out that fast. 😀 I believe importers must have a special permit to sell them to the public at the supermarket. If you do not have water spinach or have access to them you can try to substitute with watercress or snow pea leaves. The ingredients and method I’ve provided here can be used to stir-fried many other leafy green as well however, do adjust the cooking time depending on your pick.

Only a few ingredients is used and it cooks extremely quick, about 5 minutes! The key to making this delicious stir-fried water spinach with oyster sauce a delicious is to make sure you cook on high heat and move quickly. Although they do cook down make sure to have enough room so that they get evenly distribute on the pan. This will ensure that every single stem is coated. Unfortunately, it takes quiet some time to prep the water spinach because you need trim it down then pluck the wilted, dead or tough leaves from the stems then rinse it thoroughly to remove any grits, sand or mud that might of stick to leaves and/or stems (demonstration available in the video). Once the cleaning part is done you can then wrap it in paper towel and store it in the fridge for later use. It will last a couple days in there. Water spinach is also used in many popular Cambodian dishes such as the Cambodian Beef Sour Soup, សម្លរម្ចូរគ្រឿងសាច់គោ (Somlaw Machew Kroeung Sachko) and the Cambodian Countryside Sour Soup, សម្លរម្ចូរត្រកួនស្រែ(Somlaw Machew Trokoun Srae). Cambodians also blanch it or do a quick saute in oil and dip it in Tuk Kroeung, a Cambodian dip made with fish.

Some water spinach species has a very thick and hollow stem. When I visited Cambodia in 2006 they made pickled water spinach stems out of those and serve it to guest at the restaurant while they are waiting for their order. I was told that the leaves on those species were too tough and old to eat so only the stem part were used. So far the one I purchase here in the Bay Area, CA are not those species therefore both the stem and leaves can be eaten. During my trip I was also told that water spinach is a poor family vegetable because it is widely accessible, easy to grow, and require very little care. Some family even use it to feed their pigs, hence ‘pig food’. Most of my meals in Cambodia consist of an order of this ‘pig food’. I could not get enough of it especially when I am not the one prepping it. :)

Video Tutorial:

Stir-Fried Water Spinach with Oyster Sauce
(Cha Trokoun Prang Kjong) ឆារត្រកួនព្រេងខ្យង

2 tablespoons oil or enough to coat your pan
7 cloves of garlic, peel and mash with the back of a cleaver
bird’s eye chili, slice lengthwise (adjust amount to your liking)
about 1 lb water spinach, thoroughly wash and cut into 2-inch sections
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1½ tablespoons fish sauce

Get your pan nice and hot then add the oil. Swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan. Turn on the fan if you have to to prevent the smoke alarm from going off.

Toss in your garlic and stir fry about 20-30 secs. It should not take long to turn golden brown. If it does, it means the oil is not hot enough.

Next add the chili if using and continue to stir fry until fragrant, about another 20-30 secs.

Toss the water spinach and you should hear the pan sizzle because they are a bit wet and the oil is hot. This is a very good indication that the heat is just right. Stir it for just a minute to coat the water spinach.

Add the oyster sauce and fish sauce seasoning and give it another stir to incorporate all the flavors.

Dish out and serve immediately. ENJOY!

Cambodian Grilled Pork Salad

I have so many recipes that I want to try out but when it is time to choose one I usually can’t decide. Then also comes that inner me asking myself should I go buy all those ingredients? Who is going to help me eat it? How many times can I handle the leftovers? Will I ever use those other ingredients or is it just a one time deal? With these kind of questions running inside my head this is why you don’t see me sharing many American or Italian dishes. I don’t have milk, cream or cheese handy. Nor do I have tomato sauce or dried Italian herbs and noodles in my small pantry. It is currently occupied with bottles of fish sauce, different types of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and oyster sauce. On the other end it is filled with aromatic spices like star anise, dried kaffir lime leaves, dried shitaki mushroom, tamarind base powder, all sorts of dried noodles like mung bean thread (glass noodles), rice noodles in various shapes and egg noodles. For this reason, I tend to stick with Asian recipes just because most of the ingredients are readily handy. Perhaps one day in the near future when I have a large enough pantry I can stock additional ingredients from other parts of the world.

Cambodian grilled pork salad, ញុំាសាច់ជ្រូកអាំង (Ngorm Sach Jrook Arng) is just one of those quick and easy things to put together. The only thing I had to run to the store for was to get the meat. All others I stock on a regular basis. You can substitute pork with either chicken or beef. You can even use left-over grill meats for this. But because the spicy garlic dressing that accommodate this salad is a bit strong I would not recommend marinated grill meat unless you tone the dressing down a bit. Everything in this recipe can be prepared in advance hence ‘quick & easy’. Asian Mint or Vietnamese Mint is now one of my favorite herbs to pair with Cambodian salad but you can always sub it out for other fresh herbs such as basil, fish-wort, or even cilantro. Just go with what you like. You can also enjoy this salad as is, but do increase the amount of shredded cabbage or as part of a meal with rice and other dishes. Another alternative is to eat it as a wrap. For this you will omit the shredded cabbage and use lettuce instead to wrap everything. Add some rice noodles in the wrap for a fulfilling meal. Prepare the dressing but use it as a dip instead.

Video Tutorial:

Cambodian Grilled Pork Salad

(Ngorm Sach Jrook Arng) ញុំាសាច់ជ្រូកអាំង

1 tablespoon palm sugar
3½ tablespoons lime juice, about 2 limes
1½ tablespoons fish sauce
7 garlic cloves, minced
10 bird’s eye chili, chopped (adjust amount to your liking)
¾ lb. pork, season with salt & pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cabbage
a couple Asian Mint stems or use your favorite fresh herb
sliced lime rings for garnish

Grill pork until fully cook. Then slice about ¾ in. thick and set aside.

To make the dressing add palm sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce in a bowl. Whisk until the sugar dissolves.

Whisk in minced garlic followed by the chili peppers to complete the dressing. Taste and adjust to your liking. It should be sour and garlic-ky.

Add in the sliced pork and toss gently to coat.

To serve, arrange the shredded cabbage on one side and the tossed pork on the other. Pour any remaining juices on top. Garnish with fresh herb and lime rings. Alternatively, you can toss the shredded cabbage, and the herb (using the leaves only), into the salad bowl. ENJOY!

Cambodian Lemongrass Stuffed Cornish Game Hen

I LOVE LOVE Cambodian Kroeung! I can pretty much eat or at least try anything that is made using Khmer Kroeung. Kroeung is used in one my most favorite food in the WWW (world wide world) which is Stir Fried Lemongrass___, ឆារគ្រឿង __, (Cha Kdov (Kroeung) ___.) Fill in the blank with your choice meat. It’s such a delicious dish that I can seriously go off my diet streak if I make it often. YES, it’s that BAD, in a delicious way of course. :) Another popular favorite among Cambodian is the Sour and Spicy Beef Soup with Water Spinach, សម្លម្ចូគ្រឿងសាច់គោ (Somlaw Machew Kroeung Sach Ko).

For my love of Kroeung I do try to create new dishes utilizing this fragrant spice mixture. However, Cambodian Lemongrass Stuffed Game Hen isn’t so new since I’ve shared with you my recipe for Cambodian Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, សាច់ម៉ាន់អាំងប្រឡាក់គ្រឿង (Sach Mon Arng Prolak Kroeung) and Cambodian Stuffed Chicken Wings, ស្លាបម៉ាន់បោក (Slab Mon Baok) in previous post. What’s new in this recipe is the ingredients I used to make the stuffing. It might sound like too much to accompany rice but then the thought of stuffed turkey with mash potatoes and gravy all in one meal came into mind. That isn’t much right? 😀 Come to think about it if I have a date this Thanksgiving this might just be the ideal Cambodian Thanksgiving Dinner or two. :)

I decided to go with mushroom and bean thread noodles as the stuffing. These two ingredients works like a sponge and will soak up all the flavorful juices. They do not take long to cook which is perfect since game hen are fairly small and doesn’t require long roasting time. Enoki mushroom was used because that’s what I had sitting in my fridge at the moment. It’s also very affordable at only $0.49 a package! You can definitely upgrade to fresh shitaki or king oysters mushroom if you want.

Cambodian Lemongrass Stuffed Cornish Game Hen (make 2 servings)
(Mon Doat Ngort Kroeung) មាន់ដុតញាត់គ្រឿង

1½ lb cornish game hen with giblets inside removed
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon white pepper powder
1 teaspoon cayenne or paprika pepper powder, optional
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2-3 tablespoons Khmer Kroeung
1 pkg (3.5oz) enoki mushrooms, cut off bottom 1½-2 inch and rinse gently. Squeeze excess water.
1 bunch bean thread noodles, it comes in the pink netting (glass noodles), soak in warm water until soften
1 cup holy basil leaves
2 toothpick
leafy green for garnish

Rinse Cornish game hen thoroughly inside and out. Pat dry with kitchen towel and set aside.

To make the marinade combine brown sugar, fish sauce, white pepper powder, paprika (if using), sesame oil and Kroeung in a bowl. Mix well to incorporate all the ingredients.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of the marinade and pour it on the Cornish game hen then rub all over. Tip: Put the chicken inside a freezer bag and pour the marinade on top. Use you hand and rub the marinade on the chicken from the outside of the freezer bag.

To make the stuffing add mushroom, bean thread and holy basil leaves into the remainder of the marinade and mix well.

Cover the chicken and allow to marinade in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight. Cover the stuffing and store it in the fridge until it’s time to roast.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Stuff the chicken with the prepared stuffing and use toothpicks to sew the skin together so that it does not spill out during roasting. One diagonally and one across.

Place the breast side down on a rack and roast for 30 minutes. Then​ carefully flip to roast on the other side for another 20 minutes or until the juices run clear when you pierce the inner thigh with a fork. For a crispy golden brown skin crank up the heat to 450 degrees and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes.

Remove and tent with foil. This is extremely important if you want a tender juicy meat. If you start cutting through now the meat is still hot and the juices will just flow out. You don’t want a dry meat do you? Be patient and let it rest for 15 minutes or so. In the meantime you can clean up or set the table. :)

Split in half to reveal the mouthwatering stuffing and arrange on a platter with some garnish.

Serve with hot steam rice and some soup. ENJOY!

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