Thursday, October 23, 2008

Back to Cambodia

I've taken the reins over at My Kitchen, My World from the great Susan of She's Becoming Doughmesstic. With Operation Baking Gals growing so exponentially, she needed a little help with her other babies, so I went from happy participant to humble leader. My first order of business was to set out itinerary for this week- so on to Cambodia it is!

As I told the group, I am a HUGE fan of Cambodian food. My husband and I spent time there on our honeymoon, and we were surprisingly blown away by the tastiness of the food. It is heavily influenced by both Eastern and Southern Asian culinary traditions, as well as by the French, who spent time as an occupying power in the region in the 20th century.

P and I made Coconut-Rice Crepes Filled with Pork for dinner tonight, a recipe from Food and Wine which was sent our way by a Cambodian co-worker of my father in law. We also use The Elephant Walk Cookbook, from a Cambodian restaurant in Boston, for other recipes.

The crepes were pretty simple and easy for P to make, as he is magical with crepe batter.  They are thicker then traditional crepes, and have a mild sweetness from the coconut.  The pork filling couldn't be easier.  What really brings the dish together is the sauce that has the pungency of fish sauce balanced with sugar for sweetness - it was great. Place pork on a crepe, add some sauce, some crunchy lettuce, some cilantro, and get ready to eat!

Coconut-Rice Crepes Filled With Pork
by Ratha Chau
from Food and Wine, March 2008

1 cup rice flour (see Note)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 scallions, very finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Asian fish sauce
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Thai chiles, thinly sliced
1 red onion, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons very finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup shredded carrots
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
1 pound ground pork
1 head of red leaf lettuce; chopped roasted peanuts; mung bean sprouts; and mint, cilantro and basil leaves, for serving

In a medium bowl, whisk the rice flour with the coconut milk, egg, turmeric, half of the scallions and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Whisk in enough tepid water (about 1 cup) for the batter to resemble thin pancake batter.
In a small bowl, whisk the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, lime juice, Thai chiles and 2 tablespoons of water. Add one-third of the chopped red onion, and half each of the garlic and ginger. Stir in the carrots.
In a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the remaining onion, garlic and ginger and cook over moderately high heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pork, season lightly with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir in the remaining scallions. Transfer the pork to a bowl and keep warm.
Preheat the oven to 250°. Brush a small nonstick skillet or crêpe pan very lightly with oil and heat until very hot. Pour in about 3 tablespoons of the crêpe batter and swirl the pan to coat evenly with the batter. Cook over moderately high heat until the edge is just turning brown and the crêpe is nearly set, about 1 minute. Drizzle a few drops of oil around the edge and flip the crêpe to cook the other side, about 20 seconds. Turn the crêpe out onto a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven; repeat with the remaining batter to make 7 more crêpes.
Transfer the crêpes to a platter along with the lettuce leaves, sprouts and herbs. Serve alongside the pork, with the chopped peanuts and carrot-chile sauce in separate bowls. Wrap the crêpes and fillings in the lettuce leaves to eat.


Elra said...

Oooppssss! Is due already?

Crepes and pork filling sound really appetizing! I am sure it was delicious.

I have the "Elephant Walk" cookbook too, I use it a lot whenever I long for Cambodian food. I am going to make something from this book.and will post it on Saturday.

Carla said...

That'll be fun being the leader of the group. Probably a lot of work, but you'll get to meet lots of new bloggers!

I don't know if I've had Cambodian food before. I'm not a huge fan of pork, but I might give this a go.

Natashya said...

oh, that looks so good. can I come to your house for dinner?