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Khmer Cooking Class

Another cooking class! This time in Siem Reap with Beyond Unique Escapes. Until I got to Cambodia I really had no idea what kinds of dishes they were known for. The recipes we made were similar to those in my Thai class but not as spicy hot. Unfortunately for average Cambodians, the price of ingredients for many traditional Khmer meals can make preparing them cost prohibitive.

The class took place at their facility located about 10 minutes outside of town in a smaller village. It included a custom built open air “teaching kitchen”. Very nice!

 

Our first dish was amok fish soup. Most ingredients can come fresh from the garden or farmers market: peppers, turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, galangal, shallot. The chef called the large leaves “amok leaf” but the recipe she gave us says ngor leaf.

 

Lots of chopping and grinding in the mortar and pestle gave us a nice red chili paste.

 

Like I said, the kitchen was open air, smack in the middle of the village. So as long as you don’t mind cows munching next to you, chickens running around behind you, an ant here, a spider there to swat away… Real Cambodian cooking!

 

The leaves get sliced up and the fish we used was a freshwater snakehead fish. You can use any firm freshwater fish.

 

Did I mention the cows next door? Side note: the cows here are used for farm work. No milking. The local population really doesn’t consume any dairy. In fact, one of my guides in Vietnam said that some people will cook small shrimp with the shell still on as a source of calcium.

 

 

The base is coconut milk. Everything goes in and simmers for a little while.

 

In the meantime we made a green (young) mango salad. This was my favorite – so delicious! Shredded green mango (tastes kind of like green apple so you could also use that), tomato, sliced chicken, long parsley (that was a new on for me), basil, shredded carrot, palm sugar, fish sauce, shallot, garlic, peanuts and lime juice.
The finished salad. Sooooo good!

 

The amok fish soup

 

For dessert, sticky rice cake balls with a small bit of palm sugar inside and fresh coconut on top.