Saturday, October 25, 2008

Reports from Cambodia

Dear all,

i've just returned from my trip in Phnom Penh. Yes for those of you who do not know where it's in Cambodia and no i didn't go there for the shopping.

I went there for its culture, history and its architecture.
Please give me some credit. People keep asking why would I choose such a godforsaken place...(truly god has forgotten the people of PhnomPenh for awhile) and let's just say, we travel for knowledge, to broaden our horizons and learn more about other living beings around the world. or at least I travel for that reason. sometimes. other times is because i seriously need a break from work. home. work. syndrome.

The monotony just kills me silently. Anyway...anyhow.
I will post my photos and itinerary on Phnom Penh soon!!! Hopefully i can reduce all the photos by dewali and ta-duh! soon it will be on the blog report!

stay tuned!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Phnom Penh Day 04 - Cambodia Cooking Class

Cambodia Cooking Class
Address: 67 Street 240 Phnom Penh (held on rooftop terrace near Frizz Restaurant)
Tel: 855 012-524801

09:00 am
We gathered at frizz restaurant in central Phnom Penh. Next was a trip to the local Kandal Market where our instructor showed us Cambodian fruits, vegetables and spices.

many hawkers were sitting by the street selling their goods and commodities.
Lots of green leafy vegetables and I've never seen the purple stem ones before! so i decided to snap a pic pic of it

spices and rice + salted meat + live fresh fish still wriggling about! + fresh bloody fish heads (gross)

pinkEggs! so interesting, think they must be dyed. Last photos shows that live poultry such as chickens were sold too and the hawker will kill the bird infront of you. This is how fresh your meat gets.

Our instructor was introducing the different mint leaves which we were going to use for our banana flower salad such as the normal mint, fishy mint, basil, parsley, thai basil etc etc...
I was absorbing them like a sponge! While mr goh was happily sniffing them.

10:00 am
Time to take a tuk-tuk ride to the Cambodia Cooking Class, which is located on a cool open-air rooftop terrace, very near to frizz restaurant.

so we shared a tuk-tuk with our instructor. Soon we reached the roof-top cooking site.

We started off with our making of the spring rolls and we had to shred them first.

each of us have our own cooking utensils and cooker. Plus there was a helper to help us clean up after each dish was done! superb!!!!

Num Chaio (Spring rolls) serves 5-6 people

  1. 2 cups of taro (shredded)
  2. 1 cup of carrot (shredded)
  3. 25 spring roll skin
  4. 1 tbsp crushed peanuts
  5. 1 beat up egg
  6. 3 cups cooking oil (for frying)

Dipping sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 chilli padi (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • half bowl of water

Flower craving exercise from a carrot!
The last photo on the far right is my carrot! *beam*

chopping and slicing our banana flower, chillies and shallots.

and it's done! So simple and fuss-free AND we made it for my parents the next couple of days!

ingredients for the Kroeung:

2 dried red chillies
(soaked, drained and chopped into a paste)
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp galangal (cut small)
2 tbsp lemongrass (thinly sliced)
zest of one quarter of kaffir lime
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp shrimp paste and palm sugar

*here's some interesting facts i've learnt*

Cambodian food is basically Thai food, right?
NO, it is the other way round: much of Thai food is basically Khmer food!

A thousand years ago the Khmer kingdom, which centred on Angkor, ruled an empire that included most of southeast asia. The first Thai Kingdom was established only in the 13th century. Hence, many of the Thai and other regional dishes have their roots in Khmer cooking from that time.

Khmer food is sometimes spicy but overall much less spicy than Thai food. Khmer recipes go back to the days before the introduction of the chilli, so are consequently much milder than most Asian food. The chilli was unknown in Asia until the 16th century when it arrived with the Portuguese.

Kroeung (paste)
Combine all ingredients into a food processor and blend into a thick paste. Over here at the school, we used the mortar and pestle to pound all the spices.

mr goh looks so 'concentrated' in the last photo! he doesn't know that i was secretly taking shots of him! hahahah....

our tutor is looking at mr goh here....making sure that he is doing the right thing!

once the spices are all pounded, we can now add the chopped dried red chillies together with the kaffir lime and etc etc.

here's the other portion of the paste - egg yolk, fish sauce, shrimp paste, palm sugar and of cos coconut milk! Lastly marinate the fish slices into the paste.

Preparation of the banana leaf cup.

First we have to cut the banana leaves into a circle.

Next, u need to heat the banana leaf first to soften it, otherwise when folding it into a cup, it will crack and break.

once the banana leaf cup is done, put the fish slices plus paste into the cup and steam!

and ta-duh!!! my warped-sided fish amok!!! and it tasted super uber deeee-li-cious!!!!

oh this dessert was the easiest! Just have to cook the sticky rice, prepare the sweet sauce, slice the mango and it's all ready to be served!

after our cambodian cooking class, wj wanted to pack some chocolates back to the hotel. Since it was on the way back, why not!

And a showcase of my buys for the past 4 days. Lots of cambodian silk souvenirs from tote bags, to clutches, wallets, hanging ornaments like this elephant and rabbit.

yes...we had sunburnt feet from 4 days of walking under the sun. Told you that the weather was hot hot hot!

Happy Herb Pizza
Address: 223 Sisowath Quay
Opening hours: 10am-11pm Daily
This riverfront mainstay offers a pleasant view of the Mekong and is a good place to kick back in a bamboo chair and watch the evening pedestrian traffic. The strange decor--ukuleles mounted beside Cambodian landscape paintings--makes this a novel place to enjoy this treat. At USD5 for a pizza, salad, and drink, this is perhaps the cheapest of the pizzerias. For those looking for less other fare in this strange environment, Happy Pizza offers Thai soups at about USD2.50, and pasta dishes for USD4. The usual selection of local brews is offered as well.

Yup! we were back at the same old place again! Cos we miss its affordable prices!
So this time we ordered a "Happy" Herb Pizza, Bacon Pizza, noodle soup with veg and chicken + 1 bottle of Angkor beer!'s our last night in PP so we SHOULD eat and be MERRY!

a happy jie!