Cambodian cookery

As I mentioned, we’re currently in Siem Reap. Poor Roman is laid up with a cold and the weather is currently pretty wet, so no temple visits for us… yet! In the mean time though I took a cooking course (if only Roman was well enough to share the result with me – am totally stuffed! I wonder how many calories blogging burns? 😉 ) here in town at Le Tigre de Papier.

I still have to post about our time in Battambang, but I want to write up the recipes before I forget them. 😉

It’s low season in Cambodia, so I had the class all to myself. 🙂 My teacher, Saveoun, was really sweet and easygoing. She took me to the market first to take a look at ingredients (everything for the course was already provided at the restaurant) and treated me to some banana and sweet potato soaked in palm sugar and topped with shredded coconut – as if I needed more food, but it was yummy so I’m not complaining! 😉

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Friendly Saveoun

On the menu: Papaya Salad, the Cambodian staple Amok (traditionally it’s made with fish but I went for chicken this time) and Mango with Sticky Rice. The dessert had nothing on the Mango Sticky Rice I experienced in Thailand, but the other two dishes turned out great. Here’s how we made the salad. The amok recipe will follow in the next post. 🙂

Please note that measurements are approximations only!

Papaya Salad

¼ green papaya
½ a carrot
2 snake beans (substituting with green beans should be possible too)
1 tomato (I made mine without. 🙂 )
small bunch “sweet” (also known as “Thai”) basil
a few stalks of Khmer or normal coriander
two limes
2 tablespoons shrimp paste (I am guessing fish or oyster sauce would also do the trick if you can’t find shrimp paste?)
two cloves garlic
½ tablespoon dried chicken stock
½ tablespoon sugar
½ cup toasted peanuts
1 – 2 tablespoon chilli sauce
ketchup (optional – I left it out and I think it tasted great without)

Finding ingredients at the market

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Snake beans

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Green papaya

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Pictured center – Khmer coriander

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Ingredients already ready to go at the restaurant


  • Start by de-seeding and peeling the papaya and carrot. Shred both into thin strips (we did this with a nifty peeler). Mix together and set aside.

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  • Cut the beans into 1 inch segments, coarsely chop the coriander and remove the basil leaves from the stem, splitting any that are too large. Set aside. (If you are including tomato, dice half the tomato at this point)

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  • If you have a large mortar and pestle, crush the garlic in it (I am guessing/hoping that pressing garlic into a large bowl will produce similar results. 🙂 ). Add the stock powder and sugar and mix with the pestle.

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  • Add the beans and crush them lightly with the pestle. Add the papaya and carrot and crushed peanut. (And tomato if you are including it) Mix with the pestle.

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  • Add the juice of one lime, the shrimp paste and chilli sauce. At this point it’s easier to mix with a fork and spoon. Mix thoroughly, tasting and adding ingredients as needed to get to your preferred level of salty/sweet/sour – or, in my case – peanutty. 🙂

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  • Place on a plate decorated with leaves, garnish with sliced lime and tomato (and extra peanuts if you are me!) and enjoy.

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2 thoughts on “Cambodian cookery

    • The market – as has been the case for most of the markets we’ve visited on our trip – was so interesting. Amazing but after months of travel in Asia I’m still discovering new fruits and vegetables. 🙂 Apparently these snake beans weren’t even that long – my teacher was saying they can grow to about a meter in length!

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