Kroeung (រឿង) – A quick trip to Cambodia (Again)!

WP_20140921_15_50_06_ProThis blog maybe becoming a ‘sorry’ site, with probably too many apologies for staying in particular regions of the world. So far we have been to Lebanon and the Middle East a fair bit, interspersed with Spain, Mexico and more recently the lands in Asia, which are particularly fragrant.

In my last post I promised to move away, but just could not resist one last recipe, and another tasty curry from the land of the Khmer.

Khmer, or Cambodian, is the language of the Khmer people and the official language of Cambodia. With approximately 16 million speakers, it is the second most widely spoken Austroasiatic language (afterVietnamese). This dish can be found in Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey and as is usual, for me at least is an excuse to visit the local Asian Supermarket for fresh and unusual ingredients.

WP_20140921_16_01_44_ProThe 1st task is to create the Khmer ‘Kroeung’, or spice paste. The main components of this amazing mix  are Lemongrass, Shallots, Garlic, Chilli’s, Kaffir Lime Leaves, Galangal, FRESH Turmeric and Shrimp paste. The Turmeric was a new one for me, fresh, is more earthy and less vibrant to look at before cooking, compared to the powder form.

WP_20140921_16_37_34_ProPurists might opt for a pestle and mortar and pound each element to a smooth paste, I cheated and whizzed it in a small food processor designed for these type of tasks. A little water and sunflower oil helped the paste on its way, you can see the finished results above.

WP_20140921_16_32_48_ProThe protein for this dish was boneless pork shoulder, from our favourite Casey Fields Farm shop, those lads do an awesome job with their meat. Also needed will be Thai Aubergines (the little green beasties above, about the size of a golfball), a fresh Coconut, Tamarind, Fish Sauce, Palm Sugar, Coconut Milk and Thai Basil.WP_20140921_18_30_13_ProOnce browned in some oil, the Pork needs slowly simmering in the spicy mix with some water to slacken it a little, about 1 hour should do it. The mix then needs reducing a bit and the rest of the ingredients are added. The smell filling the kitchen was amazing.

WP_20140921_19_49_27_ProThe finishing touches include the freshly grated Coconut, I used the water from the Coconut to help slacken the mixture and add more flavour, the Fresh Pineapple which is cut into 1 inch chunks and Red Kampot Pepper (from Cambodia)!. The dish was served with some wilted Pak Choi, and plain Rice (and a delicious Riesling)!

WP_20140921_20_18_13_ProI will try and keep my promise this time, this is the last Far Eastern dish for a while. It’s worth hunting out the ingredients as the taste is stunning, creamy, rich, hot and very tasty. If you google Khmer Pork Curry with Pineapple & Coconut you will find a variety of recipes, better still, buy Rick’s book as there are loads of other delights to try, it’s a worthwhile investment if you like this kind of food.

Until next time…………….L8ers…………


An Evening in Cambodia, Kampot to be Precise! Loc Lac Beef ឡុកឡាក់សាច់គោ

WP_20140830_17_05_48_ProJust about to go back to work after a few days chilling and I decided that some more kitchen time was needed, albeit minimalist by comparison to some of my recent ventures. There is sill one more dish I plan to prepare after this one, and then the geography will change and more closer to home!

The tastes of the Far East continue to surprise, along with many of the ingredients. In researching this dish I stumbled across a couple of variations, one in ‘Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey’ the other on a website that Google found on my behalf!

WP_20140830_17_44_02_ProThe ‘special’ ingredient is Kampot Pepper, you can get Red Kampot Pepper HERE, along with many other different varieties. Its used in the dressing on the bottom right hand side, along with Fresh Lime Juice and Salt, it has an amazing flavour.

This is a simple recipe, making a sauce to marinade the Rump Steak in before cooking briefly and serving with sliced Tomato, Red Onion, Lettuce and Roasted Peanuts, kind of a Cambodian ‘Wrap’! I put the Galangal, Garlic, Chilli’s and wizzed in a small blender adding the wet ingredients and repeating to form a rich aromatic paste. The Rump Steak was added and well combined, leaving for an hour to marinate.

WP_20140830_19_58_46_ProI did make one minor change to the recipe, well probably two. The first was the Red Onion, I find raw Onion a bit harsh so I decided to make a sousing liquid. If you Google ‘Sousing’ you will find Wikipedia will show ‘Head cheese’, a terrine of an animals head pickled in Vinegar! Mine is a mixture of Rice Wine Vinegar Salt and Palm Sugar, so still using local regional ingredients, but applying a european slant to the dish. Add it to the thinly sliced Onion and steep for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

The 2nd change was adding a small amount of MSG, a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid ,in the form of MAGGI liquid seasoning. You can buy MSG from Oriental Supermarkets, or use a few drops of the Maggi Seasoning which is generally available. Its adds an extra ‘savoury’ or ‘Umami’ flavour giving s boost to the richness of the dish, this detail was in the page google found.

WP_20140830_19_59_24_ProThe Rump Steak only took about 3-4 minutes cooking on a high heat, followed by resting for a couple of minutes in a warm dish to relax. The Peanuts were dry roasted in a frying pan, and sprinkled with some sea salt.

The Lettuce (Iceberg or baby Gem), replaces the Tortilla wrap and forms the container for some Steak, Onion, Tomato and Peanuts, dipping into the Lime and Pepper dressing once rolled up. Its a delicious light, zingy dish, quick to make but amazingly tasty and moorish.

WP_20140830_20_00_24_ProThe picture does not do this dish justice, its VERY VERY good so thank-you Cambodia and thank-you Kampot, for your pepper, and this tasty dish.

Till next time……L8ers…..