Dinner Party for Tin and his Family

I invited Tin and some of his family round for dinner after we got back to Siem Reap. Another challenge. To make food that Cambodians like that isn’t Cambodian. Of course I carefully picked dishes that I’d never cooked before. Isn’t that something one shouldn’t do with new dinner guests?

Tuek Trey Koh Kong Fried Baby Squid

Lemongrass Fried Crispy Prawns

Sayur Masak Lemak

Soya Sesame Chicken in Banana Leaves

And of course I had raw vegetables and mustard green leaves to eat with the dipping sauces. If all else failed, my guests would definitely eat this as this is staple food for the Khmer. I really miss all the fresh greens and veggies everyday.

The Lemongrass Fried Crispy Prawns dish and the Sayur Masak Lemak I won’t be posting as recipes because I didn’t write them down and really don’t remember the details. The Sayur Masak Lemak wasn’t great anyway. I put way too much shrimp paste in and the whole dish tasted like…well shrimp paste! It was also the only dish that was hardly touched. Everything else never saw the light of day again.

Sayur Masak Lemak is a simple Malaysian vegetable dish. The recipe can be googled. Sounds a bit rude doesn’t it? Here’s the  name of the dish-google it if you want to cook it…..! I could shorten my blog to a few words…..ending in google it..?? Heh heh-naaah!!

The hit of the day was definitely The Soya Sesame Chicken in Banana Leaves. It was fiddly, messy and time consuming to make. But Oh My God, was it worth it! In fact it is still my number 1 favourite new dish that I have cooked since starting this blog.

dinner party cambodia

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Tin’s Grandfather passing away – me the amateur photographer :-)

Here are some random pics from the day. I love these pictures. Some became more grainy after compressing.

This one is my favourite!

green light on glass

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Tin’s Grandfather passing away – the open air kitchen

Here are pics of the kitchen. Paradise.  Just like in Bangladesh there are a lot of hands at work. I got told off by the girls for not cutting the spring onions thin enough. Of course everyone was smiling. I surprised them with my knowledge of the Cambodian names of most of the ingredients they were using. It was such a pleasant atmosphere. They were all so warm hearted and welcoming. Everyone was doing something. Huge bowls used as woks balanced on cut out drums on a log fire cooking Baw Baw which is rice porridge in Cambodian. This rice porridge has a lot of ingredients and is absolutely delicious. I’ll post a recipe for one my partner made in the coming weeks.

the cooking pots

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Tin’s Grandfather passing away – the events of the day

Here are the pictures of the day. It wasn’t a gloomy day like at a funeral. In fact it was the opposite. Most people were happy. There were the monks praying in a large group of which I failed to take a single photo. Then there was the preparation of a huge amount of food for all of the guests in which I happily joined in and had a lot of fun. By the evening all the guests had left except for the close family and myself. We drunk and ate  for probably the sixth time that day.

Tin’s Grandfather

Tin's grandfather

The coloured sand – so beautiful. Placed by hand by the monks.

cambodian altar

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Tin’s Grandfather Passing Away

Last year a friend of mine, Tin sadly saw his Grandfather pass away. Three months after the cremation they do prayers with bhuddist monks and have a family get together over a whole day. This was near Battambang which is 170km from Siem Reap.

The following posts are the pictures of this. To start with – The Journey!!

cambodian food sellers

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Lemongrass and Oyster Sauce Duck Soup

This is a recipe for a duck soup I made last year. The duck was small and boney and was readily available in the market in Cambodia. They eat a lot of different types of soup so I began regularly thinking out new delicious soups to make. Here’s one of them!

duck soup with oyster sauce

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Back to the Recipes – Bengali Beef Curry

So now back to recipe writing! Otherwise I’ll never clear the backlog and make space for more exciting and new culinary creations:)! The emotional stuff will then seep into the blog as and when anyway.

Here’s a classic Bengali dish that I love and we have both at my parents in London and with my family in Bangladesh. Of course there’s a difference in the dish depending on who cooks it. Cooking is a tradition that’s gets primarily passed on from mothers to daughters so they are able to cook for their future hubbies (not a bad thing). I left home in my late teens and of course could not imagine the possibility of life without Bengali food. So my mum showed me a couple of my favourite dishes which I then cooked again and again. And if you can cook one Bengali dish then the others follow naturally. I cooked bengali chicken curry and my all time ever favourite dish in the world- bengali lamb chop curry with potatoes and tomatoes. Yumm!! 🙂 Of course only my mum’s version of the chop  curry is my number 1! She is after all the best cook in the world. Anyone can of course validly dispute this with their own mothers or fathers :-).

Anyway, here is a recipe of neither of the above dishes but a Bengali Beef Curry with potatoes (we love our meat curries with potatoes in my family).

When I cook Bengali dishes I tend to add a twist like kaffir lime leaves or galangal. Both of these I have never seen in Bangladesh. Neither have I seen pak choi or lemongrass. But as I love these ingredients, I throw them in when I feel like it. For an authentic Bengali curry dish, leave these out. There are also many supplementary spices that are used to really add another dimension to the flavour and subtle aromas from this rich multitude of deliciously combined spices. I’m always amazed how so many different flavours are wonderfully combined and nurture and complement each other for the taste buds to reach new sensual highs. That must have taken centuries to get it right. The supplementary spices can include: whole black pepper, mustard seeds,  fennel seeds, anise and more that I can’t think of right now.

I’m not using mixed curry powder in these recipes as they are not used widely in Bangladesh. Everyone uses freshly ground spices  like I have. We do use them in London though. I’ll write about this in the coming week.

bengali beef curry with potatoes

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Back home in London (one of many homes :-))

It’s been almost a month and a half since my last post. So much has happened and no motivation to write about it.  Tearful goodbyes and happy reunions. The joys and pain of being a wanderer.

The feeling of seeing my lovely sisters, mum and dad again is glee and happiness. And my daughter, oh my God!! The emotions here are way off the richter scale!! I’ve missed 2 whole years of her life. She is now taller than me. So full of love for everything. So much to catch up on.

It’s cold here. That was obvious. The shock’s not as much as I expected. Even the job market looks promising. Ready to render my services for a worthwhile sustenance for my ongoing adventures.

Reading newspapers in paper form, chocolate digestives dipped in tea, extra thick double cream (oh joy, oh mighty :-)) spooned without guilt, kettle crisps….and more than anything my mum’s delicious cooking.

There is much I have missed here. Then again I miss Cambodia. For now my life is in Europe. For now I am here without my beloved.  I will do my best to make it a happy and fulfilling time nonetheless!!

London, Tate Modern Gallery

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