Rested, dressed, and ready to go after some local coffee, fresh fruit, and toast it was time for cooking class at. Rebecca and I hopped on the back of yet another tuck-tuck at 9 are and headed to a nearby local village to learn how to cook “real Cambodian” food. The ride to the village was enough, bumpy, and very enjoyable.
Upon arriving, we were greeted by a young girl who took us to a local home nearby where we met the homeowner, older women, and her toe daughters. She was kind enough to her us her garden and traditional style of cooking. She has now given some of the reigns to her daughters, but you can never be better than the head chef, right? ;p she laughed as the young girl translated for me and wished us good luck as we departed to give this whole cooking thing ourselves. Keep in mind there is no such thing as “fast” food in Cambodia. In many of the homes, they still use Cole or wood fires and more often than not they grind their own spices, make their own sauces, and harvest their own vegetables. The cook of the house indeed works all day to prepare dinner.
Really makes you appreciate a food processor and a Grocery Store huh?
I loved seeing the kids playing together in the woods on the way back. Made me think of when my sister and I use to cook up our own “woods cuisine” when we were kids.
Time to get down to business:
And on the menu today is…
Khmer Mango Salad
1 Green or unripe Mango Great the mango, carrot and slice garlic and shallots
50g Shredded Carrots Mix Together palm sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, salt, garlic, shallots
20g Thai Sweet Basil Add mango, tomato, and carrots into the bowl and toss
1 Shallot Serve on plate, topped with basil and roasted Peanuts
1 Clove Garlic
1 TB Chopped Roasted Peanuts
1/2 TB Lime Juice
1 TB Fish Sauce
1 TB Salt
1 TB Palm sugar
1 Tomato-Julienne (remove seeds)
1 Stick Lemongrass Slice and chop the lemongrass, Galangal, Kaffir lime leaf, garlic and shallot
1 small piece Galangal Pound them until they are very fine
1 Clove Garlic Add turmeric powder, shrimp paste, dried chili paste and continue to pound until they are well mixed
1 Kaffir lime leaf
After: Amok Paste + New Arm Muscles
(you can do this using a food processor as well, but we had fun going old school)
Fish Amok-Amok Trei
100g Bar Fish Heat pot on low heat and add your herb paste and stir until fragrant
1 TB Oil Add 1/2 of the coconut cream and when it boils add fish or chicken
1/2 C Coconut Cream/Milk Cook for several minutes before adding the rest of the cream and water
1 Egg Cook on a low heat until the meat is cooked
1/4 C Water Add the Ngor leaves
1/2 Stock Powder Add vegetable stock, fish sauce, sugar, salt and pepper and egg
1 tsp Sugar (use Chicken Stock for Chicken Amok)
1/2 tsp Salt
After: Fish Amok Amok Trei (AKA- Best thing since sliced bread!)
Sticky Rice Flour Balls with Pal Sugar topped with Grated Young Coconut Flesh
1 1/2 C Sticky Rice flour Boil water in a pot
Palm Sugar Candy Mix the sticky rice flour with water
20g coconut-Grated Ball the sticky rice flour then push the sugar candy inside
1/3 C Water Put into the boiling pot of water until it floats
1 Pot Boiling Water When they float scoop it out and put into the bowl of cold water
1 small bowl of cold water Serve sticky balls topped with young coconut grated inside banana leaf
After: Sticky Rice Flour Balls with Pal Sugar topped with Grated Young Coconut Flesh
and yes this is actually the name of the dessert. Why keep it simple…I like it 😛
If you like these Recipes and would like to see more, please check the Box above and I will begin to post more from my travels based on responses from my readers.
The food was fantastic, and I definitely did not think I would devour it like I did, but it was too good! Plus the fact that something always seems to taste better when you worked hard to make it right?! We had a couple from New Zealand join us for the class, so we were in good company as we sat down to enjoy our hard earned meal. It’s always fun meeting new people from around the world, hearing their stories, and share in the cultural learning experience. They were headed to Vietnam, so I gave them a few tips on where to go, what to do, and definitely what to eat while visiting. I enjoy planning trips and helping others make the most of their time when visiting a new place as well. What’s the point of learning if we don’t share our knowledge with others? Life’s about the experience and the people we share it with. So, if you need help planning your next vacation or need any budget friendly ideas. Just let me know, and I’d be more than happy to help out if I can.
As a thank you to our Tuck-tuck driver and to test out my own cooking, I offered him some of my sticky flour balls because we literally couldn’t eat anymore and had to bring some of it to-go. He laughed and was happy to try one of my sticky rice balls.
After class, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up before heading to our next destination, which I had randomly found while sitting down to enjoy my cup of coffee that morning. Rebecca had planned to go to the Landmine Museum, but it turned out to be a bit far away so when I decided to stick around locally, she joined me in some countryside horseback riding.
I found a place called the Happy Ranch which was started by Mr. Pann, a Cambodian who had been living in America for 30 years to escape the civil war and start a new life. He returned to work in the US embassy and soon feel in love with horses. He opened a Ranch in Siem Reap to help care for and horses. He holds his stables to international standards and opens it to the public for visiting and riding. So, for $28 dollars I decided to contribute to the ranch operations while also getting to enjoy the countryside by horseback with a local guide and a beautiful horse named Oliver Twist.
You can check out the Ranch yourself for more information if you are interested in visiting: http://www.thehappyranch.com/Contact-us/Contact-The-Happy-Ranch.html
The guys there were great and so was the ride! It had been a while since I’ve ridden a horse, but it didn’t stop me from catering a little bit. 😛 I will say I think they were happy to get out because Oliver Twist was a little hungry, as we stopped a few time for him to nibble on some grass, but they seemed to be very well kept for. I also had a wonderful talking to our guide, Johnny, who grew up in Siem Rep and currently attends school in the city. Through just talking and sharing our similar interest in music, travel, and family you begin to realize we all face the same problems. He works hard to take care of his parents for his is the only kid left at home, pay for school, and just live from day to day. When you hear how much things cost the first thing you want to do is pay for his tuition for the next month, but if you really think about it, we are faced with the same problems/social expectations and just day to day expenses ourselves. Again, as they say in Thailand, “same same but different.” So instead, I asked our new friend what time his classes were over and if he’d like to show us around on Pub Street. Although, he mentioned Pub Street being more of a touristy Hot Spot and not your typical dinner venue for locals I thought I’d make a toast to our new friendship and thank him with some yummy pub Street Grub. Plus the fact Rebecca and I hadn’t had too much time to see the market at night yet ourselves.
We had a great time chatting with all the guys at the Ranch. They were a fun bunch and definitely made the afternoon quite enjoyable. It will be fun to meet up with our friend Johnny tonight and see what the nightlife has in store for us.