What’s Cooking? – Khmer Food : Starter

One of many ways to know the culture is through its food. The curiosity of what’s inside that makes it taste so good is answered only through cooking it yourself. I am kind of regret realizing that I missed a lot of opportunity to learn different type of cooking style in my previous visit to various countries. Shopping, sightseeing and experiencing big nice hotel bed is now becoming quite a plain thing for me to do. I want something new. I truly wanna feel like home when I am abroad. I am finding the way of how to be the citizen of the world. While some other girls choose to fuck local guy(s) in order to taste or understand their culture, I choose to cook their food.

I will share the recipe and cooking step on here from now on. It is for my own record too. In case my kitties eat my recipe’s paper note 🙁 like they did on my bank statements, shopping catalogue and my bedroom slippers.

Every cooking class (I think so) always come with 3 dishes in 1 session. Which is Stater, Main Course and Dessert. In Siem Reap, cooking class price is as low as USD10 per person. It took about 2-4 hours and you will get to eat your “work of art”. Ha.

Me and Mike choose different menu to cook so in total we have 6 dishes that day. For starter, I chose how to prepare Mango Salad while Mike chose Fresh Spring Rolls.

Yea, this is the finish work of art. My Khmer mango salad. And I get to learn how to set the food like a pro too!

The white thingy is actually lotus petals. Hhmmm tak do teratai kau pakai la daun halia ke apa.. janji cantik.

Mike’s Fresh Spring Rolls. Like a boss.

Here is what you need for your Khmer Mango Salad;

1)Young mango + carrot + tomato + Onion + shallot + basil 2) 2 spoon of peanuts (grind peanuts)
3) Chicken or shrimp

Preparation step:

Boil the chicken/ shrimp for 2 minutes. Add half tea spoon of sugar and chicken stock powder – this to give some flavor to the shrimp/ chicken.

Grate all number 1) items

Mix the grind peanuts in. Toss everything together with dipping sauce  (scroll down on how to prepare the dipping sauce)

Easy? Of course! you think I like to learn difficult menu? I don’t, even in my own dream.

One thing I notice about Khmer food. It looks and smell similar to what Thai foods are. BUT! They are sweeter have mild flavor in term of spiciness and zesty-ness compared to Thai’s. If you are so used to Thai’s flavor – you can use the same preparation and ingredients – with extra slices of chilly padi and a squeeze of lemon/lime. 

Apparently Khmer dipping sauce can be used in Khmer Mango Salad as well as Fresh Spring Roll.

1) 4 ladle of water (1 1/2 of tea cup?) I think so.. they used that big ladle in that cooking class!
2) 2 spoon of sugar palm or brown sugar
3) 3 table spoon of fish sauce
4) A bit of sugar and chicken stock powder for extra taste
5) Minced garlic + shallot + chilly
6) 1 table spoon of vinegar (cuka lah!) and lime.

Preparation Step

Heat up the sugar palm and keep on stirring it until it thicken.

Add water. Just make sure you don’t burn the that sticky sugar! You need to be quick! Once the mixture of sugar palm and water is boiling, then add the fish sauce, a bit sugar & chicken stock powder.

Bring it to cool just like the picture above.

once it is cooling down, you can squeeze the lime juice in as well as minced garlic, shallot and chilly.
Add more chilly if you wanna burning taste. This one has a very mild taste of hot & sour.. well.. it’s KHMER’s..

Last one for starter is – Mike’s Khmer Fresh Spring Rolls.

Ingredients :
1) A TRAY full with grated Carrot+ lettuce + cucumber + Boiled bean sprout + sweet basil

2) Minced beef and baby shrimp
3) Onion and chopped garlic
4) 1 teaspoon Grind black paper + 1 tablespoon fish sauce + few pinches of chicken stock powder 
5) Rice paper

Preparation Step:

You need to cook the fillings – Fry the garlic then followed with minced beef + baby shrimp and onion.

While stir fry it – add black pepper + chicken stock powder + fish sauce. Cook until you are confident enough that the beef is well done 🙂 I think you can opt for virgin oil to turn this dish into healthy munchies. Good for low carb dieter.
Look at our chef Mike. He started to sweat already!

Vietnamese rice paper 🙂
Dip your rice paper into lukewarm water for few second and lay it on the plate or in our case – wood block chopping board.
Here comes the fun part!! Stacking the fresh vegetables onto the paper rice.
Im not sure if there is the exact sequence for stacking on the vegetables and the fillings, like carrot first and cucumber second.. but fillings must be the last part onto that wet rice paper
For those who so used to roll the weed, your skill comes in handy here.
The slim nice one on top was roll by the cooking instructor. The fattie roll was by Mike.
I know this menu is Mike’s. But I couldn’t refrain myself to join the rolly roll activity! So, I kicked Mike to the side and took over the entire paper rice.
Ah, before that, you need a small cup of coconut oil with a little bit of fried minced garlic –  for garnishing.
Cut rolls into 2 right after you oiled the rolls with coconut oil.
No brush needed. Just use lettuce as a tool to oil the rolls. Au naturel.
Set it around dipping sauce bowl like that… (told you, I’ve totally kicked Mike out.)
Woot.. woottt.. Like a PRO. Oh, for the dipping sauce, you can add fried grind peanut to give it more flavor.
BOTH STATER DONE! I think this stater alone can be my lunch already. HHmm.. Im thinking to do this and bring it to my office as my healthy lunch snack, next week.

Below is the action flop – by me. I was so greedy. I tried to put as much as filling as I can till it burst. Smh. 
I love the taste. Crunchy and meaty. 3 slices of this already made me full!
Hope you will try it. Good Luck!

…to be continued with main course and dessert.


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