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

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

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

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!

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!

Hainanese Chicken Rice

It’s finally here! My long-awaited post for a more elaborate version of Hainanese Chicken Rice known in Cambodian as Chicken Rice (Bai Mon, បាយមាន់​). This is one of my absolute favorite things to eat!

It’s been over a years since I posted my Hainanese Chicken Shortcut recipe but I’ve made this scrumptious dish numerous time, jot down all my measurements and even took a lot of pictures. When it was time to share the recipe it just seem overwhelming with all the write up and editing and I end up putting it off, until now.

I was eager to put my slow cooker to the test with more Asian recipes so Hainanese Chicken Rice seems perfect for this task. On a normal stove top you would have to monitor the chicken and poach/slow cook it at a very low temperature. Sometime you even have to turn off the heat completely and let it sit in there, then turn the heat back on repeating the process until the meat is no longer pink. However with my slow cooker I do not have to baby-sit my baby, I mean my bird. :) This was a half-day ordeal since it’s my first time cooking using this method. I did set it and leave the house for awhile. I have not tried the over-night method but I believe it is possible using the LOW setting.

My recipe is for my 5qt. slow cooker. If you have a smaller size pot you might want to consider getting a smaller chicken or just use chicken pieces instead. All other ingredients might also need some adjustments. Taste and adjust accordingly prior to serving.

I’ve broken down the recipe in sections which I think will make it easier for you to follow. You can include or omit any steps as you wish suits you.

Hainanese Chicken (makes 4-5 servings)
(Bai Mon) បាយមាន់

Ingredients for making Hainanese Chicken
1 – 4-5 lbs chicken
2 inch ginger, sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled
8 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
ice bath
sliced cucumbers
cilantro sprigs to garnish

Rinse the chicken thoroughly and remove the stuffing inside if it came with it. You can save it for another dish.

Add the sliced ginger and garlic cloves inside the chicken cavity and set it in the slow cooker.

Add enough water to cover the chicken and leave about 1 inch from the top and add salt.

Set slow cooker to cook on HIGH between 5-6 hrs, again depending on the size or cut of chicken.

Once the chicken is cook, no longer pink, prepare an ice bath by mixing some ice cubes with cold water in a container that is large enough for the chicken of that size.

Carefully transfer the cooked chicken into the ice bath. This process will shock the chicken and prevent it from cooking any further. This also give the chicken skin that nice, soft and juicy texture. Once the chicken is cool, remove it from the ice bath and set it aside.

Serve by cutting up the chicken into bite size pieces and arrange on a platter. You can arrange cucumber slices any way you wish and garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Ingredients for making Chicken Rice
2 cups long grain uncooked rice
2 ½ – 2¾ cups broth from the cooked chicken
2-3 drops of seasoning (I used Golden Mountain Seasoning), optional

Rinse the rice with cold water once or twice then transfer 2 ½ – 2¾ cups of broth from the cooked chicken. The amount of liquid used so be the same as if you are cooking plain white right. Adjust accordingly.

Add a few drops of seasoning if you wish. This also add a subtle brown color to the rice. Set your rice cooker to cook as usual.

To serve you can scoop out the rice into a small bowl and pat it down. Flip the bowl into a flat plate and the rice should slide out of the bowl forming a nice dome shape. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Ingredients for making Side Soup
1½ lb winter melon, skin removed and inner soft and fuzzy layered removed, cut into 1 inch cubed
1 tablespoon fish sauce
ground white pepper, optional

If your slow cooker had switched to warm, put it back to HIGH and add the cubed winter melon and fish sauce. Allow to cook for about 15-20 minutes. You do not want it to be too mushy.

To serve ladle the broth and winter melon into a bowl and add ground white pepper.

Ingredients for making Chili Dipping Sauce
5 red bird’s eye chili
1 clove garlic
1 piece ginger
1-2 pinches salt
juice from ½ lime, yield about 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon broth, optional

Add the first 5 ingredients into a mortar & pestle and crush into a paste-like consistency. Transfer to a small bowl and add the lime juice.

If you want to tone down the sauce a bit you can add small amount of broth from the chicken stock.

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.

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