Cambodian Food: M’hope Ka’maiJuly 17, 2007
Lord Playboy’s Khmer Mother in Law shares some of her favourite Recipes with Khmer440.com. Despite being an acclaimed screenwriter and author she prefers to do her own cooking and says that it helps her relax. If any of our braver readers attempt cooking these recipes at home, please let us know the results!
Ingredients and proportions tend to very in Cambodia from province to province, the recipes in this series draw on her life and learning to cook in Battambang.
1. Fish (trey roh or trey ch’dao) 500g
2. Nyo or gantuat leaves 200g
3. Coconut cream 500g
4. Dried red chillies 5
5. Kaffir lime leaves 10 leaves
6. Lemongrass, thinly sliced 3 dessertspoons
7. Galangal, finely chopped 1 teaspoon
8. Turmeric root, finely chopped 1 teaspoon
9. K’jiay, finely chopped 1 teaspoon
10. Garlic 1 bulb
11. Shallots 2 bulbs
12. Kapi (fermented shrimp paste) 1 teaspoon
13. Flour 1 teaspoon
14. Sugar, brown or white 2/3 of a dessertspoon
15. Fish sauce 1 teaspoonful
16. Salt 1 teaspoon
17. Soup powder half of a teaspoon
Remove the scales from the fish, clean it in water and then cut it into chunks or slices.
Scrape the coconut and extract the thick and the thin coconut cream, keeping them separate.
Pound the lemongrass, red chillies, galangal, turmeric, k’jiay, Kaffir lime leaves, garlic, shallots, and salt until finely ground, then mix in the kapi.
Cut a circle from a banana leaf, and sew it to make a bowl-shaped basket. Then line the bottom of this basket with the nyo or gantuat leaves.
Take half the thick coconut cream and the teaspoon of flour, and stir until the liquid has thickened. Set to one side.
Take the fish, the remaining coconut creams, and spices, and stir together. Pour in a little fish sauce, the sugar, and the soup powder. Stir for about 15 minutes until it has thickened, then spoon it into the leaf basket or a dish. Steam it until cooked, then pour the stirred coconut cream that was set aside earlier over it.
Sprinkle the finely chop Kaffir lime leaves over it. Steam it for a little longer, and then it’s ready to serve.
i) ‘K’jiay’ is a spicy ginger-like root, sometimes known in English as ‘lesser ginger.’
ii) Nyo and gantuat translate as ‘a tree with edible fruits and leaves’. They are clearly some kind of herb/spice/seasoning but our investigation into an English name for them was unsuccessful, a trip to the market with a Khmer speaker might be needed to purchase these.
Kosal and Lord Playboy
Additional Translation courtesy of Bachelor Translation: Tel 012 189 6518