Cambodia

My recent attempt at Cabo Verde was a C- for effort at best, so I thought I’d make up for it by having myself a Cambodian feast this weekend. It wasn’t a difficult decision as Cambodia is slap bang in the middle of my idea of culinary heaven. Cambodian food is famed for its fresh Asian flavours. Rice is a staple as is freshwater fish due to the presence of the Mekong River which cuts through Cambodia.

Amok trey is one of the more well-known dishes from Cambodia. It’s a fish curry which sets when steamed due to the presence of egg. I took the recipe from the Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey book which has a chapter on Cambodia. The curry paste is made from shallots, lemongrass, galangal, garlic, lime leaf, chilli and roasted peanuts. These are blended together and fried then palm sugar, fish sauce and star anise are added along with coconut milk. Once cooked, the sauce is left to cool and then beaten eggs are mixed in. This is usually steamed in parcels of banana leaf until the sauce sets. It’s a flavourful curry rather than a spicy one. We ate the amok trey with glutinous rice.

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I’ve eaten the Vietnamese version of Banh chao before on pancake day and loved them so jumped at the chance to recreate them. Banh chao batter is made from rice flour and coconut milk and coloured to a beautiful yellow tint with turmeric. This version also has chopped spring onion in. They are fried and filled with a mixture of rice noodle, pork, prawn, beansprout, mushroom and coriander. Absolutely delicious!

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For dessert we had some parcels of sticky rice cooked in coconut, stuffed with small, sweet bananas. These were supposed to be wrapped in banana leaf but (for a change) I didn’t plan well enough in advance so used lotus leaves that we had in the house. The rice was cooked in coconut milk and sugar and then left to chill. The banana halves were sat on a spoonful of the rice and the covered with another spoonful. The packages were wrapped up and steamed for 30 minutes.

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All in all, a delicious meal as I expected!

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