World Cooking – Cambodia

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Cambodia
Progress: 30/193

Well it’s only been, like, a minute since I crossed off my first South East Asian country from the list and here we are with Cambodia. Truth be told, I picked this country because I am in the process of gathering a bunch of my favourite recipes together to make a personal cookbook and I have something from Cambodia that I wanted to include – which meant testing the recipe out to see if it still worked.

Like a lot of countries in this region, I am really spoilt for choice when it comes to Cambodian dishes – which makes it all the more easier to come in with one in mind. The cuisine of Cambodia shares a lot with common with Thailand and Vietnam due to them being neighbours, their sharing of the Mekong River and their common French colonial past.

This means a lot of dishes with freshwater fish, noodles and rice. It also means that a lot of dishes in Cambodian (or Khmer) cuisine have versions in neighbouring countries or are their own twist on other countries’ dishes. Sadly there aren’t many Cambodian restaurants in London so I have never actually tried any of these cooked by a professional, but I really should seek it out at some point as it all looks so delicious.

Main: Lok Lak

I first made lok lak over eight years ago as part of my previous blog where I made low calorie recipes. For the purposes of this I went back to the original member submitted recipe I found on Epicurious and made it with beef as this would appear to be the more traditional meat.

My memory of first making this back in summer 2010 was the heat provided by a liberal serving of black pepper. When tasting the marinade part way through I was disappointed by the lack of heat… only to be pleasantly surprised once the beef had been cooked. This is a delicious sauce that works well with beef, chicken and seafood – even if it is mighty peppery.

Tradition dictates that this is served with rice and with lettuce, both of which dampen the heat of the sauce and provide some interesting texture differences. I didn’t include tomato in this not because it wasn’t in the recipe, but because it’s December and there just aren’t any decent tomatoes available. A pity, but this was still delicious even without their presence.

For the next country it’s time to make something from Poland. Like I’ve said previously, it is exceedingly rare for me to plan countries so far in advance, but with it being New Year’s Day soon I wanted to make something special. So I will be recreating something that I had in Krakow, as well as making my first dessert in quite a while. I’m already salivating.

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