Month: August 2010


Cambodian Grilled Eggs

Makes a dozen eggs I met my match with Cambodian Grilled Eggs. My patience and sanity were pushed to the limits. Not one to take a beating, however, I salvaged what I could from this tricky recipe and ended up with twelve super tasty eggs. This popular Cambodian street food makes for a fun side dish at a barbecue. You’ll be *almost* stress-free if you prepare everything a day ahead, saving the last step for the barbecue itself. Definitely DON’T make this dish last minute. You’ll be cursing if you do. And that’s a promise. Heck, you might end up cursing anyway. NOTE: If you don’t feel like the hassle, this egg mixture would make wonderful scrambled eggs for a Cambodian inspired brunch. Special thanks to Steven Raichlen’s Planet Barbecue for the idea and Karen Coates for explaning how to make it happen. Ingredients: 12 whole eggs 1 tsp fish sauce 1 Tbsp brown sugar 1/4 tsp pepper Method: Using a large needle, carefully make a 1/4 inch hole in one end of the eggs (or …

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Grilled Corn with Coconut Milk

Serves 4 Sweet and tropical, our recipe is inspired by Steven Raichlen’s Planet Barbecue. His version adds sugar and other goodies to the coconut milk basting liquid. Our corn on the cob is a little simpler – basted straight up with plain coconut milk. The creamy coconut milk gives corn a mild tropical flavor – perfect for a summertime barbecue. Serve with extra coconut milk on the side, for those who like to slather on extra coconut goodness. Ingredients: 1 small can of coconut milk (the size of tomato paste cans) 4 ears fresh corn, husks and silk removed salt pepper Method: Husk corn and remove all those pesky silk fibers. Brush liberally with coconut milk (stir up the coconut milk, sometimes the thick coconut milk settles to the bottom of the can) Season with lots of salt and pepper. Place on a hot grill. And cook until done. As promised, I had Keith cook these. He got them extra toasty which was really, really good. But I’m a big believer in crusty bits of …

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Chicken and Pickled Lime Soup

Serves 2-4 Although Cambodian Chicken and Pickled Lime soup is light and healthy, the broth contains considerable zestiness from the sliced pickled limes. If you don’t have time (or the right weather) to pickle limes, substitute fresh lime juice and zest to taste. The flavor won’t be the same, but you’ll get the spirit of the dish. Our recipe was inspired by Karen Coates’ travels to Cambodia. My version includes lemongrass because it is growing like crazy in my garden and I thought this herb, so popular in Cambodia, would go well in the soup. This is not traditional per se, but tasty if you happen to have some just beyond the back door. Ingredients: 1 lb chicken (I used boneless, skinless thighs – for convenience) 4 cloves garlic, slivered 1 piece lemongrass (optional) 4 cups water, or as needed 1 pickled lime, sliced (or substitute lime juice and zest, to taste) 1 cup green onion, sliced Method: The best thing about this soup is it is a one pot dish – less dishes to …

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cambodia spiders

Cambodian Fried Spiders? (with 2 polls)

Fried tarantulas are a delicacy in Cambodia. For 8 cents a spider, you can eat your very own. But watch out for funky spider breath (they cook it with garlic)! (Source: Woman’s Day). Photo courtesy of Paul Mannix via Flickr. If you aren’t into spiders, you might prefer Amok – a cooking method common in Cambodia, specifically food steamed in banana leaves. Mmm, now that sounds more like it! 🙂 . Feel like taking a quiz all about Cambodia? National Geographic has one! Have fun! 🙂

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Cambodian Pickled Limes

Makes 6 pickled limes Pickled limes add a sharp citrus kick to recipes.  As the rind softens, it releases a bitter note than permeates throughout the lime. The insides break down as they set in the salted water, so the texture becomes rather mushy. Use a sharp knife when slicing to preserve the beautiful lime shape. Cambodian pickled limes are easy to make but take a little time – you’ll probably need start two weeks ahead. Hot and sunny temperatures are necessary to dry out the limes quickly. When we made them, temperatures were floating around 104 (with a heat index of 111F). I may have set a world record for time to dry out six limes. Two days! NOTE: You could also use small key limes for this recipe. Special thanks to Karen Coates of Rambling Spoon whose post Ode to a Grandmother inspired this recipe. Ingredients: 6 limes water, as needed salt Method: Dry a bunch of clean, fresh limes in the sun. Rotate as needed to get all sides dry. I put …

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Menu: Cambodia

Although there are many recipes in Cambodia with epically long ingredient lists, I chose a collection of unusual dishes with refreshingly short ingredient lists. Did I mention I have a 13-month old? This Global Table Adventure, I’m most looking forward to trying the Cambodian Grilled Eggs – mostly because I am tickled by the idea of grilling a whole (yet seasoned) egg! Confused? Don’t worry. It will all be clear come Monday, when I post photos, recipes, and Ava’s video review. Special thanks to Karen Coates –  accomplished journalist, traveler, and one of my favorite bloggers – who was kind enough to hunt down a Khmer friend for an authentic recipe for me to adapt. It’s going to be mmm, mmm, good! Grilled Corn with Coconut Milk [Recipe] Sweet corn basted in coconut milk and grilled until tender. Cambodian Grilled Eggs [Recipe] Egg mixed with fish sauce, sugar, and pepper, then poured back into the shell and grilled. Chicken and Pickled Lime Soup [Recipe] A light broth made with chicken, sour pickled lime, green onion, and …

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About Cambodian Food

Divided by the waters of the great Mekong river, the flat plains of Cambodia are fertile ground for mile upon mile of wet rice fields. The people also draw fish from this river and other, smaller waterways, for most meals. Brothy soups cooked with limes (pickled or not), lemon grass, tamarind, or even coconut milk are standard fare. Here’s a recipe for Chicken and Pickled Lime Soup. Many curries and stir-fries are based on Kroeung spice pastes, all of which use lemongrass as the main ingredient. The result is salty, sour  flavor, reminiscent of Vietnam and Thailand, without the eye-watering, mouth-sweat heat found in either of those countries. In fact, although red chili peppers are used, black pepper is the main vehicle for heat in Cambodian cooking. Meals are filled out with fresh vegetables and unripe fruit, such as long beans, mango, papaya, pineapple, and squash. The most popular of the meats is either pork or chicken, found in many soups, noodle dishes and stir-frys. The grill is also an amazing tool in Cambodia – used, …

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Monday Meal Review: Burundi

Burundi reminds me of my mother – wonderfully inventive with just a few ingredients. She could whip up dinner with a bucket of cement if she had to. Although made with simple, affordable ingredients, the plate you see before you is a feast worthy of any table – spicy, sweet, fresh, flavorful – betraying no signs of poverty or struggle. What a lesson we can learn from the creativity and fortitude of Burundi. Getting Ava to eat her meal was also a lesson in creativity and fortitude. A test of wills. And of patience. With several quick head shakes, Ava has refusing food down to an art. She wasn’t interested in the beans. Or the plantains. Or the tomatoes. Once in a while she faked interest, opening wide for a bite, but once the food touched her tongue, she pushed it back out, screwing her face up into a squinty smile. Little stinker knows she’s making my hair turn grey. In all of beautiful Burundi, fish was her only interest. With quickly fading hope, I filled her …

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Red Kidney Beans with Plantains

Serves 4 If you can make this African bean dish a day ahead, please do. The sauce will thicken and coat every millimeter of the beans with chili and onion goodness. Great side dish for a party! Ingredients: 3 cups prepared red kidney beans (2 cans) 2 Tbsp red palm oil 1 onion, sliced 1 plantain, sliced salt 1 tsp chili powder 2 cups water Method: 1. Heat oil over medium heat, cook onion 2. Add beans, plantains, salt, and chili pepper. Cook for a minute. 3. Add water and simmer until plantains are cooked and about a 1/2 cup of liquid is left in the pan – 30 -45 min I chose a plantain with blackened skin. Unlike a banana, where darker skin indicates over-ripeness, blackened skin in a plantain indicates perfect sweetness with a little tooth – perfect for a short simmer. Always rinse canned beans. I bought “no salt added” to keep this dish low sodium. This photo flashes me back to spoonfuls of cod liver oil as a child. Luckily, red palm oil …

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Fish with Tomatoes & Red Palm oil

Serves 2-3 Make this African dish with your favorite white fish. In Burundi, they use whole Ndagala or mukéké. The tomatoes and onion make a fresh, brothy sauce, while a pinch of fresh parsley enhances the flavor. Sometimes the fish is fried separately, then added to the sauce. I prefer the health benefits of gently steaming the fish over the sauce. Ingredients: 1 Tbsp red palm oil 1 lb fish (we used cod) 1 onion, chopped 3 tomatoes, chopped 1 habenero (whole or halved) 1 cup water Salt to taste Method: 1. Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft. Then add tomatoes, habenero, water, and salt. 2. Simmer, uncovered, about 15-30 minutes, until the tomatoes break down into a light, brothy sauce. If you prefer a more reduced sauce – or less, adjust time to your preferences. 3. Add fish, cover, and cook until done. This will depend on the thickness of your fish. Check to make sure the fish flakes easily to determine if done. Ours took about 15 minutes. Tomatoes …

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Witness the sights and tastes of Burundi

In this first video, you’ll see the longest lake in the world, Lake Tanganyika, as well as mukeke, one of the fish that comes from these beautiful waters. In this second video you’ll view scenery from the small lakes region of Burundi, as well as spectacular fresh produce. Finally, watch drumming performances at the Avocado Oil Festival, followed by a display of food made with avocado oil.

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