Austere simplicity yet elegance, over the centuries Khmer cuisine was carefully designed to reflect the rich culture of the past. However, today only some of the dishes survive. But that doesn’t mean that the regal cuisine of times gone by should be forgotten.
You may have heard about a Khmer restaurant on Street 63 in Boeung Keng Kang 1 called Kraya Angkor. Resurrecting Cambodia’s forgotten recipes, Kraya Angkor — whose mission is to preserve culture and the traditional Khmer culinary arts — serves authentic Cambodian cuisine. Today, Ly San, the owner and the chef of Kraya Angkor, will teach you how to cook Khmer signature dishes.
“Served as the royal dish for ambassadors, Na Tang represents the abundant wheat and fish of Khmer people.”
Ingredients: Pork, fresh coconut milk, garlic, shallots, dried chili, roasted peanuts, dried shrimp, salt, palm sugar, fish sauce, oyster sauce, cooking oil, dried sticky rice.
- Leave the dried shrimp to soak in water for 15 minutes. Heat the frying pan and put in cooking oil, the minced pork, minced garlic, shallots, and dried chili and stir.
- Stir-fry the pork for a while before adding salt, palm sugar, fish sauce, and oyster sauce. Keep stir-frying until the smell arises, and then add the dried shrimp and coconut milk. Add roasted peanuts.
- For sticky rice, leave the rice in water overnight. Steam the rice, and arrange it in layers. Leave it to dry. Finally, deep-fry the sticky rice.
“Lotus Salad, a unique royal dish, reflects the natural beauty of Cambodia — lotus — with every part of the lotus used.”
Ingredients: Lotus flower, lotus seeds (unripe), lotus stem (unripe), cashew nuts, roasted peanuts, mangosteen, chicken (boiled), bacon (boiled), shrimp (boiled), chili and various basils, garlic, lime, salt, fish sauce, sugar.
- Peel the lotus flower, lotus seeds and slice lotus roots in layers. Peel mangosteen. Tear the boiled chicken meat into small pieces. Chop boiled bacon into small pieces, and peel the boiled shrimps. Then clean the basil.
- Making the sauce: mince garlic and chili. Add sugar, a bit of salt, lime juice, and warm water. (The taste is based on your preference.)
- Mixing: put all ingredients into a big bowl, except the lotus flower and basil. Add the sauce and mix well. Lastly, put the lotus flower and basil on top.
“Served as both food and medicine, Amok, Cambodia’s traditional food, was used against cold and fever in the past.”
Ingredients: Fish fillet, chicken meat or snail, spinach leaves, pastes (lemongrass, garlic, turmeric, galanga, kaffir lime leaves), dried chili, egg, coconut milk, shrimp paste (or Prahok), fish sauce, salt, palm sugar, banana leaves.
- Slice the fish thinly. Cut the spinach leaves into threadlike slices.
- Making the paste: grind thinly-sliced lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, turmeric, galangal, and the garlic together well. Chop the dried chili finely and keep separate.
- Heat the frying pan and then pour coconut milk to the pan. Keep stirring until it gets oily and then add the dried chili. Then add shrimp paste, fish sauce, salt, palm sugar and the paste to the frying pan. Whisk it until it smells aromatic and pour in a little coconut milk (not watery).
- Add the fish fillet and stir for a while, next adding the spinach leaves. Break the eggs in a bowl and whisk them well then pour them into the pan. Stir the pan well for a few seconds then stop the heat. Lastly, pour the mixture into a bowl or banana leaf bowl and steam for 25 minutes before serving.
“Now lost, Marakot soup illustrates the traditional and royal lives of the past.”
Ingredients: Chicken, onions, yams, fresh ginger, parsley, roasted peanuts, coconut milk, garlic, shallots, salt, palm sugar, shrimp paste, fish sauce, cooking oil.
- Chop the chicken and deep-fry it. Chop onions and yams. Extract ginger juice and parsley juice by crushing those ingredients.
- Crush garlic and shallots and pour coconut milk into the pot and stir well. Then add the garlic, shallots, shrimp paste and stir. Add the chicken with a little bit of the ginger juice and parsley juice.
- While boiling, add salt, palm sugar, and fish sauce to taste. Add more coconut milk and stir. Leave it there for a while, and pour in the remaining ginger and parsley juice. Then add onions and yams. Lastly, add the roasted peanuts.
By: BUNTHENG LIM