Archive for November, 2010

Cambodian Chicken Rice Porridge with Fried Noodle

This is one of my childhood favorite weekend dish while growing up in a 300+ Cambodian refugee apartment complex Park Village in Stockton, CA back in the late 80s. Mainly because the lady in one of the apartment in the complex known as Chanrith’s Mom had the Cambodian fried noodles available for sale at only $1 per a zip lock sandwich bag. We would reserve some of the fried noodles and add it to porridge the next meal. Not that the fried noodles were difficult to make but there were plenty leftovers. You can make the porridge with your choice of meat or seafood. You can also use the Congee|Rice Porridge recipe that I’ve posted before. Some also like to add extras such as liver, gizzards, intestines and blood cube. I prefer mine with without those extras.

I made my Cambodian chicken rice porridge with fried noodle, បបរសាច់មាន់គុយទាវឆារខ្មែរ (Bobor Sach Mon Kuy Teav Cha) with the help of canned chicken stock and leftover cooked steamed rice. This saves me time from making the chicken broth from scratch. You can certainly start with uncooked rice it will just take a bit longer and requires an additional cup of liquid. There isn’t much seasoning going on because the rice grain absorbs the flavors from the chicken stock as they expand. You want just a basic porridge and allow individual to adjust their bowl to taste using the seasonings and garnishes.

If you happen to have Chinese donuts or twisted donuts known in Khmer as Jap Kwai it would pair well with this porridge.

Cambodian Chicken Rice Porridge with Fried Noodle (makes 2 serving)
(Bobor Sach Mon Kuy Teav Cha) បបរសាច់មាន់គុយទាវឆារខ្មែរ

Ingredients
1 14 oz can chicken stock
2 cups water
2 skinless chicken thighs
1 cup cooked rice
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 oz dried rice noodles, small size, pre-soak in warm water 30 minutes or until soften
1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
½ teaspoon pure sesame oil

Seasonings and Garnishes (pictured below)
fried garlic
lime wedges
cooked shredded chicken
fried rice noodles
chopped cilantro
fermented soy bean
chili and garlic sauce
mung bean sprouts
white or black pepper (not pictured)

 

 

Method:
Bring chicken stock and water to a boil and add the chicken pieces. Allow it to come to a boil again and then simmer cover until the meat is cooked, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool.

Add rice to stock and cook on low heat until the grains expand and becomes soft, about 25 minutes. If using uncooked rice it will take additional time. If the heat is too high the liquid will evaporate more so make sure to keep it nice and low with the cover on but do monitor it so it does not spill over. If it get too dry add more chicken stock or plain water and stir so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.

Once the chicken has cool to touch discard any bones and use your fingers to shred the meat and set it aside with the other finish seasonings and garnishes.

Strained the pre-soak dried noodles and toss it with sweet soy sauce and sesame oil. Heat a non-stick pan until hot and add the noodles. Use chopsticks to swirl and move them around so they don’t stick to the bottom. If it appears to be dry just splash some water to soften it up. Transfer to a plate and set it aside with the finish seasonings and garnishes

Once the rice has turned into porridge season with sugar and fish sauce.

To serve the porridge ladle into individual bowls and each person can add their own toppings as well as adjust to taste. ENJOY!

Thai Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice

Pineapple fried rice is a dish that you can probably find on every single Thai restaurant menu. You get to pick your choice of meat or seafood. I had skinless chicken thighs available in my fridge so I decided to go with Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice, បាយឆាម្នាស់សាច់មាន់ (Bai Cha Manors Sach Mon). Diced ham or even cut up sausages would work too. Although I have never order this off of the menu I have however scoop up a couple spoonful from my friends’ plate when they do order them. This dish gives off many different flavors and textures. The savory from the chicken and rice, the sweet and sour from the cooked onions and pineapple, and the crunchy nuts if you choose to top it off. For this reason I personally would enjoy it as a meal on it’s own rather than having it accompany with other dishes . I would save that for plain steamy rice. Of course that is just me and the choice is yours.

Pineapple fried rice can be served many ways. The simplest form, on a rice plate. Kick it up a notched with some slices cucumbers and tomatoes on the sides or go all the way out and serve it on a pineapple boat or bowl. If you are using fresh pineapple why not save the shell for this? If not, canned pineapple chunks are great alternatives as well but be sure to drain the juices as much as you can. You can top it with cashews and some place also add raisin. It sounds as if the possibility are endless depending on who’s making and/or who’s eating.

For homemade restaurant style/quality fried rice check out my tested tips. It might take a bit of time and seems like a lot of steps but this is because home stove does not heat up as fast as those in restaurants so you have to allow ample time for each ingredients to get their share of heat. Rushing it will result in an overcrowded, soggy and mushy fried rice.


Thai Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice (makes 2 serving)
(Bai Cha Manors Sach Mon) បាយឆាម្នាស់សាច់មាន់

Ingredients
1 skinless chicken thigh, bone removed and cut into bite size
1 ½ tablespoon oyster sauce, divided
½ teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
½ tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 eggs
½ small onion, diced
¼ red bell pepper, diced
¼ red green pepper, diced
2 cups cooked rice, day old rice works best or allow freshly cooked rice to cool down in the fridge for several hours
1 cup diced pineapple
oil for frying
a handful of cilantro leaves

Method:
Marinade chicken with ½ tablespoon oyster sauce, ½ teaspoon soy sauce, ½ teaspoon sugar and set aside. Meanwhile you can prep the other ingredients while the meat is marinating.

Prepare seasoning by mixing the remainder oyster sauce, fish sauce and curry powder together. Set aside.

Heat a frying pan with oil and fry the 2 eggs until they set. Remove and set aside. No need to get them fully cook because you will add them back to the pan later.

Add chicken and stir fry until they are cook half way. Follow by diced onions, and bell peppers. Cook until chicken is fully cooked. Remove and set aside.

Continue on by stir frying the rice. Make sure to spread out the grains evenly. If not the steam from the heat will cause the rice to get mushy.

Once the rice grains starts to pop up (fried) return the chicken, diced onions, bell peppers. Add seasoning and stir fry quickly for about 1 minute.

Finally add pineapple and return the fried eggs and stir fry to combine.

Turn off the heat and throw in the cilantro leaves reserving some for garnish.

Serve any way you like – with or without cashews and raisins, on a plate or in a pineapple boat or bowl. ENJOY!

Cambodian Chicken Curry Bread Bowl

As a home cook I am always trying to find ways to dress up a dish or update and add new things to an already existing one. Cambodian Chicken Curry Bread Bowl, សម្លការីសាច់មាន់ខ្មែរនឹងនុំបុ័ង (Somlaw Kari Sach Mon Khmer Nung Num Bang) has long been on my list to try and make at home. Beside eating chicken curry with steam rice or with rice noodles Cambodian also enjoy mopping up the sauce with bread (French, baguette, or Naan). The sight of the Pacific Coast clam chowder with the cute little sourdough bread bowl sitting right next to it available at my local Safeway supermarket every Fridays reminds me even more that I need to try it out with my Cambodian chicken curry.

I called my recipe Cambodian Chicken Curry because the paste used is made with Khmer Kroeung. Khmer Kroeung is made with all natural ingredients, no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives like some store bought curry paste and sauce. For those who don’t have access to Khmer Kroeung I suppose you can substitute it with store bought Thai curry paste or the Lee Kum Kee curry paste in a jar. You just would not refer to it as Cambodian Chicken Curry. However you might have to adjust the seasoning as well as the other ingredients as those store bought curry paste tend to have their own spice as well as other ingredients included already.

Also some note I want to add is that if you are planning to enjoy the curry with rice noodles or bread you might want to use a bit more stock/water and adjust to taste since they tend to soak up the curry more as suppose to having the curry as an accompany with steam rice. The potatoes you use will also play a part in how thick or thin the curry gets. Some potatoes like the russet potatoes have a high starch content which means that they tend to fall apart and turns mushy during cooking. These potatoes are best reserve for baking or making mashed potatoes. Those with a low starch content, like red-skinned potatoes, hold their shape after cooking, and are great for this curry. The small ones you don’t need to cut them. Also leaving the skin off or on is totally a personal preference. Some also prefer using sweet potatoes. If potatoes is not what you prefer you can also add vegetables of your choice.


Cambodian Chicken Curry Bread Bowl (serve 3-4 if accompany with steam rice)
(Somlaw Kari Sach Mon Khmer Nung Num Bang) សម្លការីសាច់មាន់ខ្មែរនឹងនុំបុ័ង

Ingredients
2 tablespoons Khmer Kroeung
3 dried chili, discard stems and seeds then soak in hot water until soften, strain and discard the liquid
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
1 tablespoon palm sugar
2 lbs chicken, cut into big chunks (I used skinless bone-in thighs)
1 lb potatoes, cut into big chunks
2 cups chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
cilantro sprig for garnishing

Method:
Use either a mortar & pestle or a blender to puree the Khmer Kroeung and the soften dried chili into a paste. If using a blender add enough water just to get the motor running.

Heat a pot and add the paste. Stir fry for 1 minute or until the liquid has evaporate. Be careful not to burn it. Reduce the heat if necessary.

Add coconut milk and stir constantly until the oils from the coconut milk starts to separate.

Add palm sugar and shrimp paste and stir until it dissolves.

Next, add chicken and potatoes and stir to coat.

Add chicken stock or water. Depending on the size of the pot you are using the liquid should cover about 1 inch above.

Allow the pot to come to a full boil for 4-5 minutes then reduce the heat and simmer for another 20 minutes or until the chicken and potatoes are cook but not mushy. This is why it is crucial that you cut the chicken and potatoes into large chunks so they do not break apart during simmer.

Finally season with fish sauce. Taste and adjust accordingly.

This curry can be served with steam rice, rice noodles or bread of your choice. Optional, squeeze lime juice and garnish with cilantro just before serving. ENJOY!

Cambodian Phnom Penh Noodle Soup

It was a year ago that I’ve shared my Phnom Penh Noodle Shortcut recipe. Since then I’ve been wanting to tackle a recipe that is as close to authentic as possible. I was not born in Cambodia and my trip in 2006 only last about 10 days. During that 10 day trip I tried Phnom Penh Noodle Soup once in Battambong province on my way to Banteay Mean Chey province. That was probably where my love for Phnom Penh Noodle Soup started.

Cambodian Phnom Penh noodle soup is different in that the broth is made of pork bones. You can also use chicken but preferably pork. In addition the broth it is flavored with onion, garlic, black peppercorn, coriander and preserved radish. Season with a bit of fish sauce and soy sauce and you have a delicious basic Phnom Penh noodle broth. Add some additional seasonings and garnishes and it will give this noodle soup a wide appeal.

Last week while I was recovering from a cold I had a chance to make my long awaited (close to) authentic Cambodian Phnom Penh noodle soup. While you can make it on a regular stove top I choose to use my slow cooker to do the work. The difference would be the cooking time. I was not in a rush and spent most of my time recovering in my sleep so I did not want to worry about spill over. I just set my slower cooker on HIGH for 4 hours and forget about it. It’s ready by the time I wake up. :) When using a slow cooker you don’t loose as much liquid so keep it about 1 inch below the top line. You can solely use pork bones but I happen to have the ones with some meat on it so I just used that and reserve the cooked tender meat for the toppings.

Cambodian Phnom Penh Noodle Soup (makes 4-5 servings)
(Kuy Teav Phnom Penh) គុយទាវភ្នំពេញ

Ingredients
1 lb fresh rice noodles (if using dried make sure to pre-soak it in warm water for 30 minutes)
10-12 cups of water
1½-2 lbs pork with/without bones
½ tablespoon black peppercorn
½ tablespoon coriander seeds
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 Knorr pork/chicken cube (depending on the meat you use)
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
rock sugar, thumb size
1 cup preserved radish
2 tablespoons fish sauce
½ tablespoon Golden Mountain seasoning sauce

Seasonings and Garnishes (pictured below)
cooked shrimp
mung bean sprouts
ground red chili peppers
sliced preserved radish
lime wedges
fried garlic
cooked ground pork
chopped mixed cilantro/green onions
Golden Mountain seasonings (optional)
Sugar (optional)

How to make Phnom Penh Noodle Soup Broth:
This is an optional step but I really want to extract all the flavors that I can. In a mortar & pestle pound the black peppercorn, coriander seeds, and garlic into a coarse paste. You can put it directly into the pot but I choose to put it in a tea mesh because I don’t plan on straining my broth. Most of the solids will sink to the bottom of the pot.

In a stock pot add the pork and bones, Knorr cube, onion, rock sugar, preserved radish, and water. If cooking on a stove top bring it to a hard boil for about 10 minutes and skim off any froth then simmer for 2 to 3 hours until all the flavor of the bones is released. If using a slow cooker just set it to HIGH and cook for 4 hours or on LOW for as long as your slow cooker can handle. A slow cooker generates a gentle boil so little liquid will evaporate and barely any froth produces. For this reason you can add water up to about ¾ from the top.

Once the broth is done you can strain and discard the bones and other solids. Taste and season the broth with fish sauce and Golden Mountain seasoning sauce. Keep the broth on a low simmer ready to be ladle onto individual noodle bowls.

Noodle Bowl Assembly:
Boil enough water in a pot that accommodate the strainer and the noodle. Add rice noodles into the strainer. Shake the strainers so that the boiling water coats all the noodles. Cook for 1-2 seconds (depending if you are using fresh or dried pre-soak noodles). Shake off excess water and transfer to a bowl.

You can create your noodle bowl by adding and arranging garnishes such as cooked shrimp, pork, sliced preserved radish and fried garlic. If you like your mung bean sprouts to be a bit cooked then add that too. Otherwise, reserve it for last. Ladle enough broth over just to cover. Top your bowl off with chopped mix cilantro and green onion, ground red chili peppers, and some squeeze lime juice. Use your chopsticks to mix the ingredients together. ENJOY!

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