Fried Cambodian Straw Mushrooms with Coconut Cream Sauce

This is a dish I made yesterday morning after a zombied insomniac night! You can see the ingredients I used!

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Ingredients

2 cups cambodian mushrooms halved (or button mushrooms brown or white)

1 medium sized onion diced small

1/2 bulb of garlic cut small or squashed

1 inch piece of fresh turmeric (or 1/3 teaspoon turmeric powder)

2 pieces of finger root (or 1 inch piece of ginger)

5 small Thai chillies halved lengthwise

2 mexican type chilli (see large chilli in picture above) cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 small bunch of  water spinach(stems 1/2 inch pieces)or use pak choi

sea salt

160ml coconut cream (99%)

2 teaspoon fish sauce

6-8 leaves of saw leaf herb (or small bunch of fresh coriander)

1 bunch of Thai sweet basil

1 teaspoon kaffir lime rind cut small (or 5 lime leaves)

vegetable oil

1/2 cup light red jasmine rice

1/4 cup red jasmine rice

1/2 cup white jasmine rice (all the rice is dry mixed together)

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Coconut Cream

First of all cut the onions and garlic and set aside. Next wash the turmeric and finger root thoroughly. I don’t peel them. I just cut off bits of the skin that look dark and bruised.  Cut into 1/2 inch pieces and crush in a mortar and pestle if you have on. If not you can just cut into very small pieces with a knife.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onions, half the garlic and all of the finger root and turmeric and stir. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and half the chillis. Fry on medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until the onions start to brown and the turmeric and finger root is well fried (but not burnt). Add the coconut milk. Now it is important to keep stirring until you take the pan off the flame. Otherwise the coconut milk will get too hot and coagulate (looks like baby sick). There are dishes where this is wanted but not for this one. Then add the fish sauce, water spinach stems and half of the kaffir lime rind. Keep stirring until the coconut milk starts to thicken. If it has thickened too much just add small amount of water until you have the wanted creamy consistency. Take the pan off the flame and add the sweet thai basil (leaves only, not the stems) and the saw leaf herb and half of the mexican chilli to garnish.

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The Mushrooms

Clean the mushrooms of any dirt and cut away any bruised or soggy parts. The Cambodian mushrooms I didn’t wash and button mushrooms shouldn’t be washed either. So that’s why it’s important the mushrooms are fresh, not limp and soggy.

Heat oil in a frying pan and add the garlic, Thai chilli. When garlic starts to brown add the mushrooms and stir. Then add the lime rind. On a medium heat the mushrooms should be ready in a about 4-5 minutes. The mushrooms should still be juicy but charred nice and brown (Mine didn’t turn out like that-they were a little dry. Still delicious though). Add a few Sweet Thai Basil leaves and mexican chilli to garnish.

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The Rice

The type of rice is very important. I favour the asian variety. I’ve used 3 different rice types and mixed them dry together before cooking. This has the added nutritional value of the wholegrain rice but still the soft fluffy texture of the white rice. The only difference between asian wholegrain Jasmine rice (brownish red or colour) and white Jasmine rice is thenumber of times it’s been milled. The first milling gives you wholegrain. The second will usually give you the white.  The pinkish coloured rice is my favourite. It looks beautiful, nutritious and healthy. White rice that gets exported to the west, even gets bleached to get it’s whiteness!!

Always wash the rice before you cook. Wash until water is clear. 2-3 rinses is usually enough. Untold dirt (from the milling machines) is on the grains. And even worse dead bodies of insects, shit from rodents, cockroaches and even small lizards will find their way into the rice during storage!! This bit of info will definitely get you washing:-)

I probably learned to cook a hundred other dishes before I got the rice right. Without a rice cooker it’s not easy. I use this method. There should be approximately 3/4 of the first segment of your forefinger more water in the pot than there is rice. If whole-grain, then a little more. If the grains are white and small e.g. broken jasmine rice, then its should be a little less (a rice cooker needs a little less than a saucepan). Put the rice on a medium heat with the lid off. When the water boils and starts to thicken from the starch from the rice stir the rice. The timing means everything. You make the flame as low as possible and cover the saucepan with a lid. The lid should be well fitted so now steam is escaping (a tiny amount of steam is ok, but a lot will result in the rice not being cooked properly). Now you can leave it on low heat for anything between 5-10 minutes. When white rice is finished it gives off a distinct smell. You can taste the rice and see if it is done. After you put the rice on a low flame, you shouldn’t stir anymore. Otherwise it will take longer and worse stay grainy. Even today when I cook rice on a flame, it is sometimes too soggy or a little burnt on the bottom (I love this lightly burnt crust-totally delicious). So don’t worry about it-just buy a rice cooker -easy to use and perfect rice every time.

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Note: I’ve used the stem of the water spinach because I had them left over. You can use the leaves too. But the leaves only go in after you’ve tuned the flame off.

When I started I had a totally different dish in mind. It just developed into this.   This recipe isn’t perfect. I think I need to do something more with the mushrooms. I’ll update once I know!

Categories: Cambodia, Recipes, Vegan & Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Fried Cambodian Straw Mushrooms with Coconut Cream Sauce

  1. LizEccentric7

    This is one of the most well written and wonderfully articulated recipes I have ever seen. Love it! Beautiful pictures.

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