|Recipes||Chhar Kroerung Morn (chicken with Cambodian 5-spice)|
|Population||15,288,489 (73rd largest)|
|Area||181,035 km2 (88th largest)|
|Language||Khmer (official), 19 indigenous languages|
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, it is located in the southern point of South-East Asia, bordered by Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. It has been ruled by an elective monarchy since 802 AD, whose rule has been enshrined in the Buddhist faith. Angkor Wat is the most famous of the countries Buddhist structures, containing over more than 1,000 temples alone. Cambodia suffered a tumultuous 20th century period, namely the 1975-1979 genocide and the US bombings of 1969-1973 following the Vietnam war. Living standards in Cambodia still remain tough unfortunately.
However, Cambodia has a rich culture, full of French, Buddhist and Hindu influences. It’s cuisine features staples of rice, fish, noodles, lemon grass, kaffir limes, fish sauce and oyster sauce, tamarind and chilli. Street food is particularly popular in Cambodia. This week Mwara prepared the classic 5-spice paste, which is used in many Cambodian dishes. Then she used it to cook a traditional Cambodian chicken dish called Chhar Kroerung Morn. We’ve decided to always have jar of paste in the fridge – it was that good.
Kroeurng Chhar Kroeurng (Cambodian 5-spice paste)
- 1 1/4 stalks of lemongrass, finely sliced
- 10 kaffir lime leaves
- 6 round slices of fresh turmeric
- 8 round slices of fresh galanga
- 12 cloves of garlic
- 3-5 small chillis (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Wash all the ingredients throughly and allow them to dry.
- Blend all the ingredients for 3-5 minutes at a high speed until smooth. Add extra water if the paste is too stiff.
- Refrigerate in an airtight container.
Chhar Kroeurng Morn (chicken with Cambodian 5-spice)
- 3 lbs chicken, diced in bite-sized chunks
- 2 small bell peppers, julienned
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/3 cup Cambodian 5-spice paste
- 1 cup veg stock
- 2/3 cup of water
- 2 tbsp roast unsalted ground peanuts
- 1/4 cup veg oil
- 3 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 4 tbsp oyster sauce
- 4 stems spring onions, sliced in strips
- 20 red basil leaves
- 1 tsp ground chillis
- Heat the veg oil in a wok (or frying pan). Toss the garlic for 15 seconds and then add the 5-spice paste.
- Then add the chicken chunks and toss well for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the veg stock and let it simmer on a high heat for 5 minutes.
- Add in the fish sauce, chilli, sugar, oyster sauce and water. Then add the bell peppers and the small onion. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Garnish with basil leaves, ground peanuts and spring onion. We served with flat rice noodles in ramen bowls with ramen spoons!
Saum Arkoun and see you in Cameroon! M + B x