Connect the dots

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Khmer Kitchen

With Thailand and Vietnam as it's neighbors, Cambodian food has a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to food. Much of it is a subtler and less spicy version of Thai or Vietnamese but also has some of it's own stand-outs. 

I decided to dissect Khmer cuisine by taking a course with the popular Siem Reap restaurant, Le Tigre de Papier

Many of the ingredients are similar to Thai cooking such as the fish sauce, oyster sauce, and palm sugar. However, their fish sauce is lighter and the curries are less spicy. Their twist on the papaya salad is trading the star ingredient for the banana blossom, the large reddish bulb hanging from a banana tree. And the country's famous amok, a curry usually made with fish, can be found on every menu. 

In the usual formula, first a market run. 

Eventually into an Amok
Fresh noodles
Sweets: banana in tapioca, sesame rice balls, black jelly to name a few

Then off to the kitchen to start cooking. As my favorites, I decided to try my hand at the banana blossom salad and the fish amok.

Thinly sliced and placed in a brine to take away the bitterness

Banana leaves to present the fish amok

My fellow students also cooked up some yummy fresh spring rolls and beef lok lak.

We ended our meal with a pumpkin custard cooked right in the hollow of the pumpkin itself. 

Still feel like cooking? Head to a Cambodian BBQ for dinner. Pick your meat and get an unlimited amount of noodles, rice and vegetables to go with it. We went for the sampler platter. 

Squid and snake
Ostrich (the best!)
BBQ on top and soup with veggies on the bottom

And since the French were here, it's appropriate to say, bon appetit!

No comments:

Post a Comment