Every meal prepared by our beloved staff members Maly and Congkea is cooked with love, laughter, spice, and vegetarian options, of course. We’ve been living at the Center for over two months now, and are constantly surprised with flavor profiles and sauce combinations that I literally dream about regularly. This weekend, after returning from our trip to Southern Cambodia and Vietnam, we were lucky enough to learn a few cooking tricks from the masters themselves, and prepared two of our favorite dishes together.

Among our favorite meals is traditional red Amok curry, made with tofu for our environmentally conscious eaters. The curry is an explosive blend of lemongrass, chili, and coconut flavors and filled with green beans, onions, eggplant, tofu, and potatoes (which we now affectionately refer to as dawmlong barang). The curry is served with rice and any added spice that your mouth can handle. Maly, our wonderful head chef, prepares the curry sauce that defines this dish from scratch, and was sweet enough to share her secret recipe with us.

 

 

 

 
Another Center favorite is a unique kind of coconut-corn-sesame pancake. It’s difficult to describe the pancakes unless you’ve had them—their consistency is similar to firm sticky rice, but with crispier edges and shreds of fresh coconut throughout. The recipe combines the sweetness of condensed milk and fresh coconut in a miraculous harmony of flavors served on a banana leaf. We rarely have leftovers.

We’re all looking forward to recreating these special chnganh foods to share with our friends at home, and can’t wait to see what Maly and Congkea cook up next!

 

Watch the Video!

 
Now try them for yourself!

 

Red Amok Curry

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 2-21/2 lbs chicken or tofu
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 1 eggplant
  • 300g long green beans
  • 1L coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp chicken powder
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce


  • 10 stalks lemongrass
  • 6 Kaffir lime leaves
  • 30g turmeric root (can substitute powder)
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 10 cloves red garlic
  • 50g dried chilies
  • 25g curry powder

Preparation:

Slice lemongrass and turmeric root. Remove middle section of Kaffir lime leaves. Remove skin from garlic and red garlic. Re-hydrate chilies and remove all seeds. Combine all ingredients with curry powder in a blender and blend until the mixture turns to a paste.

Combine 250ml of coconut milk, paste from the blender, sugar, salt, chicken powder, and fish sauce into a large cooking pot and heat on medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 15 min or until the mixture becomes very red. Cut chicken into small pieces, add to pot, and continue cooking for around 10 min or until chicken is fully cooked. Add the rest of the coconut milk, potatoes, and sweet potatoes and cook for another 10 min, until potatoes are fully cooked. Add eggplant, long beans, and onion and cook for 5 min. Serve hot over rice.

 

Corn Pancakes

Serves 4-8

Ingredients:

  • 5 ears fresh white corn (can substitute yellow corn)
  • 500mL coconut milk
  • 1 coconut
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 11/2 cups sugar
  • 12/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preparation:

Cut the corn off the cob and mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Form into pancake shapes and fry in a pan with a bit of oil on medium-high heat. Cook until browned on both sides. Serve on a banana leaf.

 
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