Posts Tagged ‘Lemongrass’
There are several version of stir fry lemongrass out there such as the Vietnamese and the Thai. Each region has their own uniqueness and distinctive flavor. This can also be said for my Cambodian Style Stir Fry Lemongrass, ឆាគ្រឿងសាច់ចិញ្រ្ចាំ (Cha Kroeung Sach Jengjram). While some can just chop up stalks of lemongrass then throw it into the stir fry and call it Stir Fry Lemongrass, Cambodian style is rather a bit more complex. As long as I can recall Cambodian Stir Fry Lemongrass use what we call “Kroeung” which is a made with a combination of aromatics.
I’ve mentioned it many times that this had got to be one of my top 3 Cambodian dishes. The spicier the better! In the past I’ve made this stir fry using finely chopped quails in my Fiery Stir-Fried Lemongrass Quail. This time around, using the same recipe I’ve decided to go with store bought ground pork and made a tutorial to show how quick and easy it is to whip up this delicious Cambodian dish. In addition, because it’s winter fresh holy basil are nearly impossible to get my hands on therefore I have opt frozen holy basil which I had preserve from the fresh one during the summer. See my steps on how to preserve holy basil leaves for later use.
Cambodian Style Stir Fry Lemongrass (makes 2-3 servings)
(Cha Kroeung Sach Jengjram) ឆាគ្រឿងសាច់ចិញ្រ្ចាំ
oil for stir frying
½ cup lemongrass paste, Khmer Kroeung
½ tablespoon finely chopped Pahok (optional)
1 lb ground meat of your choice (chicken, pork, turkey, quail)
jalapeños, sliced lengthwise (adjust amount to taste)
2 teaspoon sugar
1½ tablespoons fish sauce
½ tablespoon tamarind soup base
½ cup of holy basil leaves
Heat a pan and fry the lemongrass and pahok (if using) until fragrant. Add your choice of ground meat and continue to stir fry until they are cook. It will be dry but that’s okay.
Next add jalapeños and the remainder ingredients. Quickly stir to combine the ingredients. Taste and adjust to your preference. Turn the heat off and add holy basil leaves. Give it a final stir and transfer to a serving dish.
How to Preserve Holy Basil Leaves
You will need holy basil leaves and oil.
Pick out the leaves and tender stems. Flash rinse them quickly and thoroughly dry them. If you have a salad spinner, this would be an excellent way to dry them.
Once they are fully dry, heat a pan to medium-high heat. Lightly oil the pan and toss in the holy basil leaves.
Flash fry the leaves by quickly tossing them around so the leaves are coated with the oil. The heat and the oil will cause the leaves to wilt a bit, this is perfectly fine. Since the leaves are light and tender it should not take very long, less than a minute. If you have a large amount to preserve, I suggest you flash fry them in batches to prevent over crowding.
Next transfer it onto a platter and allow to cool. Once cool you can bag them up in small batches (servings) and store it in the freezer.
When it is time to use, you can defrost it slightly and add to recipes that calls for holy basil.
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
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!
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) ឆារសាច់គោគ្រឿង. 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) ឆារសាច់គោគ្រឿង
adapt from The Elephant Walk Cookbook
½ cup Khmer Kroeung (lemongrass paste)
¾-1 lb beef, cut into 2 inches strips
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 small onion, sliced into wedges
6 red jalapeños, 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 ¾ 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.
Yesterday I mentioned about my Mother making some Cambodian Lemongrass Paste (Kroeung) for me (available for sale here). Today I used this Kroeung to make a tasty Cambodian Lemongrass Chicken ឆាគ្រឿងសាច់ម៉ាន់ (Cha Kroeung Sach Mon). I am making this with a bit of variation. For example the real Cha Kroeung uses Holy Basil ម្រះព្រៅ (Maress Prov). I only have Thai Basil and Sweet Basil growing in my garden this year so that’s what I’m using. I don’t know about others but I normally make this with ground meat as I feel that the flavors really penetrates through the ground meat more. But as you can see in the picture I did not ground my chicken. I was in a hurry. The jalapenos and onion are also optional. You can substitute bell peppers or leave them out completely if you don’t like them. Also to truly make it authentic Cambodian Lemongrass Chicken add some pahok sauce to it. You don’t have to if you don’t like the taste or smell of pahok sauce.
2 chicken breast, cut into bite size
6 jalapenos, slice into long sticks (remove seeds – optional)
1 medium onion, slice
1 cup of Cambodian Lemongrass Paste
1 cup basil leaves
4 tablespoons pahok sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
3-4 tablespoon fish sauce (adjust to taste)
Bring a pan to med-high heat and add the chicken. Cook chicken thoroughly then remove and set aside.
Next in the same pan, add the lemongrass paste and fry until fragrant. (You can also just add it to the cook chicken but I like to fry the paste just to release the flavor and allow the moisture from the past to evaporate. It’s totally a personal preference). Once the paste is fragrant, return the chicken and combine it together.
Next add the pahok sauce if using. Followed with jalapenos and onions then sugar and fish sauce. Combine all ingredients together and adjust to taste.
Finally, turn the heat off and add the basil leaves. It will wilt once you mix it in. Plate it up and serve with steam rice.
Valentine’s Day is this Sunday, 2 days away. When one thinks of Valentine’s Day the first things that comes in mind almost instantly are red roses, puffy hearts and sweet decedent chocolates. Most definitely fish cakes does not cross people’s mind. For others it’s the sales and discounts at their favorite stores. No matter what people says, thinks or feel about Valentine’s Day it is one of the most celebrated holidays around the world. In my country, Cambodia, it’s refer to as Tngai Bonn Songsa with literally means Boyfriend/Girlfriend Day. I think it extends to Husbands/Wives too, no? Hmmm.. I hope so. 😀
I went to watch the Superbowl at my Sister’s house last weekend. My Mother sent back with me a couple package of prepared fish paste to post in the store (coming soon). These are prepared fish paste which has some of the basic spices and herbs in there already however, you can still mix your own flavors into them. I’ve added the Khmer Kroeung (lemongrass paste) to make ប្រហិតត្រីទ្រង់គ្រឿង Pa’het Trey Troong Kroeung or Lemongrass Fish Cake with a kick. You can also add chop green beans and green onions for a whole new flavor and texture. Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner I got a bit festive and shape my fish cakes into hearts. This is totally optional of course. Follow along as I will be using my Mother’s prepared fish paste in a variety of recipes coming soon .
Cambodian Lemongrass Fish Cakes (makes 15)
(Pa’het Trey Troong Kroeung) ប្រហិតត្រីទ្រង់គ្រឿង
1 cup prepared fish paste (available in my store soon)
1/3 cup Khmer Kroeung (lemongrass paste)
1 tablespoon red pepper powder, optional
oil for frying
Cucumber relish, see recipe
cilantro for garnish
shape cookie cutter, optional
a sheet of wax paper 8×10
In a bowl add fish paste and Khmer Kroeung (lemongrass paste). Combine and mix well. Set aside for about 30 minutes.
To form the shape of your choice, just scope out a tablespoon of fish paste and fill it inside the shape cutter using a back of a small spoon to press it evenly. Lay it on a sheet of wax paper to avoid it from sticking. You can also roll it into a ball and press it flat between your palms like a patty. Add a pinch of red pepper powder to the center (one side) for an extra kick, optional.