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? πŸ˜€ Perhaps next time I might just add some rice noodles in the mix. πŸ˜›

Grilled Cornish with Momofuku Octo Vinaigrette
(Mon Ang Nung Tuk Jroluk Kngey Ktum​ Saw) αž˜αŸ‰αžΆαž“αŸ‹αž’αžΆαŸ†αž„αž‘αžΉαž€αž‡αŸ’αžšαž›αž€αŸ‹αžαŸ’αž‰αžΈαžαŸ’αž‘αžΉαž˜αžŸαžš
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)
ΒΌ cup rice wine vinegar
ΒΌ cup light soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 Β½ 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. πŸ˜€ 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 αž“αž»αŸ†αžŠαžαŸ‹αž’αž»αžšαŸ‰αŸαž“ 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 Β½ cup, add ΒΌ 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 αž”αžΆαž™αžŠαŸ†αžŽαžΎαž”αž’αž»αžšαŸ‰αŸαž“β€‹ 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) αž“αž»αŸ†αžŠαž»αžαž’αž»αžšαŸ‰αŸαž“

1 cup flour, sifted
ΒΎ teaspoon baking powder
Β½ cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Β½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
ΒΌ 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 αž”αž”αžšαžαŸ’αžšαžΈ, 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) αž”αž”αžšαžαŸ’αžšαžΈ


3 tablespoons medium or long grain rice
3-3Β½ 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.

Cambodian Beef Noodle Soup

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

I’m back. :) Did anybody miss me? I know I’ve been bad. :( I haven’t post anything in over a month! This is the longest it’s been idle since I revamp my website. Blame it on the shopping season which made me wander around different stores almost daily catching deals. Or was it the cold weather which forbidden me from going into the kitchen because my fingers are cold and I don’t feel like cooking. Well, whatever it is I am here now. πŸ˜› Wishing my readers a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful and happy New Year.

It’s officially winter and my tush is freezing! A few weeks ago we had the chill advisory and now there is a snow storm in many parts of the US. This kind of weather makes me crave for hot soup like noodles or Yao Hon (Cambodian style hot pot). My Mother and sister will be preparing Yao Hon for our family Christmas dinner but had also asked me to make and bring some Roast Pork with Crackling. I’ve made it for them a couple of times and most recently during this past Thanksgiving, I guess it was a hit. :) So, Yao Hon this Friday but for now I wanted something to keep me nice and toasty like this hot, steamy and scrumptious Cambodian Beef Noodle Soup (Kuy Teav Sach Ko Khmer) αž‚αž»αž™αž‘αžΆαžœαžŸαžΆαž…αŸ‹αž‚αŸ„αžαŸ’αž˜αŸ‚αžš.

I call it Cambodian Beef Noodle Soup because I see and taste some difference if compared to the infamous Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup known as “Pho”. I admit that I have never made Vietnamese Pho before but have ate it numerous time. I don’t know what types of ingredients goes into making Pho but IMHO I do find the taste to be powerful, not in a bad way, but it’s like the spices used sort of dominate the broth rather than the flavors of from the beef. Growing up my Mother use very simple ingredients to make the broth and the key was to simmer for long hours so that the flavors from the beef bones are extracted and the meats become tender and juicy. Perhaps this is the same way Pho broth is made but I’m just saying that the amount of spices used in Cambodian Beef Noodle Soup is less than those used in Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup. If anybody else notice any differences or similarities within these two noodle broth, please do share.

Awhile back I picked up a double pack of ox tail (about 3.5 lbs each) at Costco. The first packaged was used to make Beef Soup/Stew with Potatoes and Carrots and the second was tucked back in the freezer. You can use almost any types of beef bones. A great broth must be monitored by skimming off the frothy scum that rises to the top. To reduce the amount of these frothy scum, you might want to pre-boil the bones with about 8 cups of water. Discard the liquid and rinse the pre-boiled beef bones then continue with the process below.

Cambodian Beef Noodle Soup (makes 4 servings)
(Kuy Teav Sach Ko Khmer) αž‚αž»αž™αž‘αžΆαžœαžŸαžΆαž…αŸ‹αž‚αŸ„αžαŸ’αž˜αŸ‚αžš

12 cups of water
3 lbs of oxtail or other beef bones
5 beef bouillon cube
1 Β½ lbs fresh rice noodles (if using dried noodles pre-soak in warm water for 30 minutes)
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered

Spices (add to tea/herb mesh ball)
1 star anise
Β½ tablespoon whole black peppercorn
Β½ tablespoon corriander seeds
5 cloves garlic, skin peeled and lightly mashed
2 inches of ginger, peeled and slice
1 cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
Β½ tablespoon dark soy sauce

Ideas for toppings/condiments
thinly sliced round-eye beef
thinly sliced sweet onions
beef balls
hoisin sauce
siracha chili sauce
pickled jalapeΓ±os (see my recipe)
mung bean sprouts
cilantro leaves
lime juice

Bring 12 cups of water to a boil and add ox tail (or beef bones). Bring it to a boil again and add 5 beef bouillon cube, quartered onions and spices in the mesh ball followed by all the seasonings. Let it boil for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to low and simmer cover for as long as you can go, preferably 2.5 hrs or more. Check once in awhile and skim off the frothy scum that might of rise to the top. If you want to reduce the fat content you can make the stock a day ahead and refrigerate it. By the next morning the fat will harden and rise to the top. This will make it easier to scoop out with a spoon. Discard the bones and remove the mesh ball. You can also strain it for a more liquid-y broth. But be sure to reserve any meat for toppings. Allow the broth to come to a rolling boil before serving.

When you are ready to assemble your noodle bowls, bring about 8 cups of water to a boil. (Strain) Separate noodles into 4 servings. Cook noodles in a strainer in boiling water until soften about 1-2 minutes. Empty the noodles (straining all the liquid back into the pot) into serving bowl.

It is now ready to assemble. Add additional toppings of your choice. The meat such as thinly sliced beef should be lay on the top of the noodles. Most meatballs comes pre-cook so you can just throw it in the hot broth to warm it up. Ladle about 2 cups broth into each bowl, distributing the hot broth evenly to cook and warm all the ingredients. Serve immediately with garnishes and your choice of condiments.

Baked Squash with Brown Sugar and Butter

**** Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Who’s cooking what this year? Please do share. :) I will contribute some dishes Asian-American style; roast turkey seasoned with some Asian spices, roast pork belly, and New York style cheesecake topped with fresh berries. This will be my very first Thanksgiving tackling so many dishes and I hope they turn out decent or edible. LOL ****

Who knew that something very simple can yield A-M-A-Z-I-N-G flavors! I bought a butternut squash for a Cambodian recipe I wanted to try which is Stir-Fried Pork with Butternut Squash but haven’t had a chance to make that. Since I will be spending time with my family in Stockton, CA this Thanksgiving holiday (for 4 days) I did not want my beautiful butternut squash to go bad while I am away. My light bulb moment came as I recall a recipe from the Food Network Channel by Paula Deen. Paula made Baked Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Butter with a splash of maple syrup. I tweak the recipe a bit. I sub the acorn squash with my butternut squash, reduce the amount of maple syrup and add about a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. My whacked gas oven end up baking it at 400 degrees for 1.5 hours! Do the toothpick/fork test about 40 minutes into baking as your oven might be of better quality than mine, hence doesn’t take as long.

I took a bite and OMG, it was SO GOOD! It was after I finish eating one half that I went back to take some pictures. πŸ˜€ The flavors reminded me of a Cambodian dessert my Mother used to make called Pumpkin Dessert (Num Lapov) αž“αŸ†αž›αŸ’αž–αŸ… made with kabocha or butternut squash with coconut flesh and milk, wrapped in banana leaves and steam. If you prefer a more sweeter version, then increase the sugar or syrup however do keep in mind that squash comes with it’s natural sweetness.

Baked Squash with Brown Sugar and Butter
(Lapov Doat Jear Muy Skaw Nung Buer) αž›αŸ’αž–αŸ…αžŠαž»αžαž‡αžΆαž˜αž½αž™αžŸαŸ’αž€αžšαž“αžΉαž„αž”αŸŠαžΊ
adapt from Recipes courtesy Paula Deen, 2007

1 (1Β½ lb) butternut squash, cut in halves lengthwise
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Meanwhile cut squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and remove stringy pulp.

Combine sugar, butter, syrup, cinnamon and salt.

Rub all over the cut side of squash.

Use aluminum foil to lightly cover the cut size and bake with cut side up for about 40 minutes until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork. Then remove aluminum foil and switch broil for an additional 5-10 minutes to get that nice brown caramelize color.

Remove an allow to rest for about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Pickled Mustard Green Fried Rice

Do you have days where you sort of run out of things to cook? Days when you are short of a few ingredients for a dish but don’t want to drive out to the store just yet because you end up picking up non related stuff? Yup I have plenty of those days and yesterday was no exception.

I’ve been bad lately; sleeping late and waking up late as well. :( This mean skipping what nutritionist calls the most important meal of the day-breakfast. When yesterday lunch time rolled around I just popped the fridge and put together what I had which resulted in this surprisingly yummy Pickled Mustard Green Fried Rice (Bai Cha Jruk Spey) αž”αžΆαž™αž†αžΆαžšαž‡αŸ’αžšαž»αž€αŸ‹αžŸαŸ’αž–αžΈ.

I had my share of mushy fried rice days until recently. After numerous trial and error and with some research online I was able to perfect my fried rice, IMHO. πŸ˜› Here are my tested tips to homemade but restaurant style/quality fried rice.

  • Chill left-over rice in the refrigerator overnight.
    This will allow the liquid to dry up and the grains to hold it’s shape and not turn mushy when frying. The sauce and seasonings will liven it back up. The rice grains will absorb all the liquid making them flavorful in every bite.
  • Fry ingredients separately.
    This will ensure that each item you lay on the pan get their share of “wok/pan time”. You want to be able to taste each of the flavors and not crowd them. Since all the ingredients will joined again at the end, you only have to cook it to about 80%.
  • High heat is essential.
    Just be patient and allow the pan to heat up again before you start frying the next item.
  • Try not to touch!
    Sometime we are tempted to start moving thing around fearing they might burn. Spread them out and use all the pan surface. Give them a chance to cook and crisp up then go at it. If you do too much digging and poking, you will end up breaking the rice grains releasing the starch which results in a mushy and sticky fried rice.

2.5 cups cooked rice
10 lil’ smokie, cut into cube
3 eggs, lightly beaten season with a dash of salt & pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 hot red bird’s eye chili, chopped (optional)
2 stalks green onion, chopped
1 cup chopped pickled mustard greens

1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Β½ tablespoon sesame oil


Prepare seasoning and set aside.

Heat a pan til hot then toss in lil’ smokie. There is no need to add oil as the meat will draw out it’s own oil. For a nice and crunchy meat make sure to arrange them in a single layer on the pan. Do not touch it! Let it cook for about 1 minute on each side. Remove, leaving the fat behind, and set aside.

Wait a couple of seconds for the pan to heat up again and use the remainder oil in the pan to quickly fry the lightly beaten eggs. Separate them with a spatula. Remove when it’s 80% cooked. The eggs should still be a bit watery.

In the same pan add garlic, chili, ΒΎ chopped green onions and do a quick stir fry until fragrant but carefully not to burn them. Next toss in chopped pickled mustard greens and spread them out. Make a well in the middle (or move them to the side).

Add cooked rice (try to do it in a single layer so that the grains touch the bottom of the pan). Leave it alone for a couple of minutes before you start to stir them around. This will allow the rice to crisp up.

Pour seasoning all around and continue to stir fry to incorporate the flavors. You will notice that the rice grains barely stick to the pan. They are still plumped and not mushy. This is because you allow them “wok time” ( a chance to touch the bottom on the pan/wok).

Finally return the lil’ smokie and fried eggs and mix them together one more time.

Dish out to serve and sprinkle with the remainder chopped green onion. Enjoy this delicious creation of mine :). I hope that my tips were helpful to you and that you enjoyed making and eating this as much as I did.

Cambodian Sour Soup with Coconut Milk & Pineapple

Totally un-related to this post but I had just signed up with Twitter yesterday. If anybody is interested in my sudden burp, thoughts and rambling :) you can follow me.

Now, let’s get back to cooking. Here is another recipe that I adapt from The Elephant Walk Cookbook. I haven’t had this in a very long time, like more than 10 years! I think one of the reason was because I was too lazy to make my own Khmer Kroeung. :mrgreen: Thanks to my Mother I now have an endless supply of Khmer Kroeung.

This soup gives off a very fragrant aroma when cooked and very rich and flavorful. One might refer to this soup as Pineapple Curry due to the use of coconut milk. But the resulting taste is more on the sour and spicy side. The Kroeung along with the pungent pahok (pickle-fish) and shrimp paste helped balance the sweetness from the coconut milk and pineapple. Serve it up with lots of hot steamy rice. It is delicious! When the coconut milk was first combined with the Kroeung it reminded me of the broth used to ladle over Cambodian fresh noodles topped with assorted vegetables known as Num Baingjok.

Cambodian Sour Soup with Coconut Milk & Pineapple
(Somlaw Machew Ktiss Manoss) αžŸαž˜αŸ’αž›αžšαž˜αŸ’αž…αžΌαžšαžαŸ’αž‘αŸˆαž˜αŸ’αž“αžΆαžŸαŸ‹
adapt from The Elephant Walk Cookbook

1-1.5 lb pork (shoulder, butt, spare ribs), cut into fairly large chunks
1 cup coconut milk unsweetened
2 cups water
1 can (16 oz) pineapple chunks in natural juices
Β½ cup Khmer Kroeung (lemongrass paste)
1 teaspoon pahok (pickle-fish), grounded
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon tamarind soup base (powder)
4 kaffir lime leaves, torn
red chili to garnish (optional)

Heat a pot and add Β½ cup coconut milk. Stir and cook until the oil starts to separate. Add Khmer Kroeung, stir often until the flavors are release. The aroma is heavenly!

Add meat along with sugar, fish sauce, shrimp paste and pahok. Cook for 5 minute.

Add the remainder coconut milk, water and tamarind soup base (powder). Give it a quick stir to incorporate them together and bring to a boil. Cover partly and simmer on medium for about 30-45 minutes until the meats are tender.

About 15 minutes before it is done add the pineapple chunks and torn kaffir lime leaves.

Garnish with chili and serve hot with lots of steamed rice.

Stir Fry Beef with Lemongrass

If you have been following my recipes you will notice that I rarely cook with beef. It’s because I prefer to cook my beef the day of purchase or within the next day. I don’t like to freeze my beef and then defrost and cook it – it’s just not the same, IMHO. So I did my grocery shopping, a fairly small one which included some meats and herbs. Barely any vegetables because they tend to go bad faster than I can get to them.

Anyhow, I went through a couple of my cookbooks to get some ideas on what I can do different with my beef. The one that interest me was a recipe from The Elephant Walk Cookbook called Stir-Fried Beef with Lemongrass (Cha Sachko Kroeung) αž†αžΆαžšαžŸαžΆαž…αŸ‹αž‚αŸ„αž‚αŸ’αžšαžΏαž„. I technically borrowed this book from my BFF like 3-4 years ago. One of these days I’ll return it to it’s rightful owner plus a some cook dishes from this book for her to taste. :) According to the authors Longteine De Monteiro & Katherine Neustadt this dish is an Indian-Chinese hybrid. I read the recipe through and applied the concept but tweaked the flavors and measurements accordingly to my taste. As a result, I really really love the dish! I was blown away by surprise. At first I was wary of the flavor afraid it might be too nutty and that it would not pair well with my steamed rice. I was totally wrong. The lemony flavors from the Khmer Kroeung (lemongrass paste) and the spicy jalapenos really help balance out the nutty flavor.

Stir-Fried Beef with Lemongrass
(Cha Sachko Kroeung) αž†αžΆαžšαžŸαžΆαž…αŸ‹αž‚αŸ„αž‚αŸ’αžšαžΏαž„
adapt from The Elephant Walk Cookbook

Β½ cup Khmer Kroeung (lemongrass paste)
ΒΎ-1 lb beef, cut into 2 inches strips
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 small onion, sliced into wedges
6 red jalapeΓ±os, quartered length-wise (substitute red bell pepper for color and a mild flavor)
4 tablespoons unsalted roasted peanuts, coarsely ground in a mortar & pestle
2 stalk green onion, cut into 2 inches & split length-wise
2 tablespoons oil for frying

Mix sliced beef with Khmer Kroeung and set aside. Use your hands to massage and work the Kroeung into the beef.

Heat oil in a pan. Depending on the size of your pan you might have to fry the beef in batches. Fry them in single layer and do not crowd them. Once you set it in the pan do not move it. Leave it there un-touch for a couple of minutes. This will ensure that you get a nice crusty brown on the beef strips. Then flip to the other side and repeat this step until all the strips are fried.

Sprinkle sugar and add fish sauce. Do a quick stir to incorporate the ingredients.

Toss in the onion, peppers and ΒΎ of the peanut. Give it another stir and cook for about 3 minutes until onions are soften.

Remove from heat and add green onion reserving a few for garnish and sprinkle with remaining peanuts just before serving.

Sweet Potato Shrimp Fritters

These Sweet Potato Shrimp Fritters (Domlong & Bongkear Jean) αžŠαŸ†αž›αžΌαž„&αž”αž„αŸ’αž‚αžΆαžšαž…αŸ€αž“ is like the Japanese famous tempura meet with the Cambodian lettuce wrap with fish sauce for dipping. The natural sweetness that the potatoes gives off topped with plump lightly battered shrimp wrapped with fresh crunchy lettuce and herbs dipped in a salty and tangy fish sauce! The flavors is “out of this world”. :mrgreen:

Only a few simple ingredients which many can be prepared well in advance like the fish sauce for dipping. I like to leave the shell on the shrimp for that nice crispy and crunchy texture but some people like to leave it out. It’s totally up to personal preference. Have all the preparation done and assemble them close to the frying pan. These are best serve hot however if you have a lot of do then it can be kept in a warm oven until it’s time to serve.

Sweet Potato Shrimp Fritters
(Domlong & Bongkear Jean) αžŠαŸ†αž›αžΌαž„&αž”αž„αŸ’αž‚αžΆαžšαž…αŸ€αž“

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into matchsticks
20 large shrimps, devein
1 box (3 oz) of tempura flour
Β½ cup of oil for frying
fresh lettuce and herbs for wrapping
prepared fish sauce for dipping

Prepare tempura batter according to the box/package. I remember adding water to the flour little by little so that you can control the consistency. Add sweet potatoes in batches so that you don’t crowd them in the batter.

Heat oil in a pan. Test with a drop of batter to see that the oil is ready. To fry use a chopstick to pick up several sweet potatoes and add them to the hot oil. Try to spread them flat so that they cook evenly.

Quickly, dip a shrimp in batter and add it on top of the frying sweet potatoes. The batter works as a glue to merge the shrimp and potatoes together. It does not take long to fry these. When one side is done carefully flip and fry the other (shrimp) side. If the oil is not high enough you can cook it at an angle by tilting the pan (be extremely careful). Once both sides are cooked remove them and allow to drain on paper towel. Repeat until all the fritters are made.

Serve these babies hot wrapped in lettuce and herbs and dip them with fish sauce.

Sweet Potatoes Ball|Doughnut

I spent my Friday evening browsing through cookbooks at the book store. Did not have a coupon with me and the cookbook that I want to get was a bit pricey. Instead I look through them and took notes (recipes LOL). I wrote down this from an Asian Snack cookbook. It look simple;consist of only a few steps, and required literally few ingredients; sweet potatoes and flour. Roll it into small balls and call it Sweet Potatoes Ball (Num Domlong Jean) αž“αž»αŸ†αžŠαŸ†αž›αžΌαž„αž…αŸ€αž“ or shape it into a doughnut/donut and call it Sweet Potatoes Doughnuts. This snack is not as sweet so you can adjust the sugar coating to your liking. Cinnamon sugar would also be a delicious. Dipped in maple syrup and it reminds me of the Pancake Puppies I usually order at Denny’s with a cup of hot coffee (right image).

I gave the recipe a try this evening. Well, the measurements that was provided did not work. The recipe called for two medium sweet potatoes. Ok, so everybody have their own definition of “medium”. Since I want to test out the recipe I cut the measurements in half. It turned out that my “one potato” is probably equivalent to their “two potatoes”. In addition, I had to use more flour than what was called for because it appears that there were a lot more moisture in mashed boiled sweet potatoes. Not sure if I over boiled it or my only potato was bigger than the original two potatoes that was called for.

Bottom line, if you want to try and make this my advice is to add the sifted flour a little at a time as you are kneading until you get a dough-like consistency and the mixture no longer sticks to your fingers. Then you know it’s ready to be pinch/form into a ball or a doughnut.

1 medium sweet potato
1 cup all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Β½ teaspoon baking soda
oil for deep frying
cinnamon and/or sugar to coat
maple syrup for dipping (optional)

Boil potato until soft. Time will depend on the size of your potato. Use a fork to check. If it goes through and out easily (no resistance) than it is done. Remove and allow to cool before peeling the skin. Mash it thoroughly with a fork or a potato masher. Discard tough fibers.

Sift the baking soda and flour then add it to the mashed sweet potato. Knead until you form a smooth dough. Again, if it sticks to your hands and fingers, add more sifted flour.

Once you knead and get to the right consistency scoop about 1 tablespoon of dough and roll it into a small ball (the size of a quail egg). Lightly dust your tablespoon with flour so that the dough doesn’t stick. Set the ball on a dusted floured tray until ready to deep fry. Repeat step until all the dough is used.

To form a doughnut shape scoop about 2 tablespoons and roll it into a ball with your palms. Then flatten it slightly. Make a hole through the center with a floured handle wooden spoon. Use your fingers to smooth the edges around the hole. Set aside on a floured tray until ready to deep fry.

Add about 1 inch of oil to a pan and heat at medium-high. Once the oil is hot (starts to smoke) reduce it to low. Deep fry your shaped dough until brown. Remove and drained on paper towel. Allow it to cool a bit before you roll it in sugar or cinnamon. This snack is best serve hot-warm. It taste great with hot tea or hot coffee.

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