So here we are 1 month and more into our trip and we still haven’t done a single cooking class and we both say we like cooking. We’re both not sure why as throughout our travels we have enjoyed all the food we have eaten (although we both don’t eat spicy food, we do try).
Malaysia is great as there is a combination of Malay, Chinese and Indian food.
Thai food is good but everything comes with spice….small chillies that blow your head off. We found out after going out with some new Malaysian friends that even they think it is too spicy as generally not the whole chilli is eaten in Malay cuisine.
Since being in Cambodia we thought it was time to embark on a cooking class – get some local expertise, draw upon their knowledge and talk about local food, ingredients and Khmer cuisine.
Nary’s Kitchen, Battambang.
We found Nary on Tripadvisor and it was located 3 streets from where we were staying. We rung them up to see if we could attend the afternoon class and next minute we are with Sam, who took us to the local market to pick up the ingredients that we needed. He explained to us the ingredients and what people generally eat – the older women liked to chew on the betel nut with the leaf all day long as this creates some mild euphoric effect, snails are picked up from the river and then left to cook in the sun mixed in with some chilis, the foetus egg is good as it supposedly gives the people more energy, lemongrass is cooked with a lot of things to get rid of the ‘smell’. I’m not sure Westerners have this concept but my family being Chinese, they use ginger to get rid of the ‘fishy smell’ or when it’s lamb there is a particular ‘smell’ that needs to be removed before consumption.
Next we are sitting in Toot’s (one of the owners) kitchen. Nary (his wife) is also at hand to help us. As good students we are, we learn about the cuisine, how to cut ingredients properly, different cooking methods and what substitutes we can use back in England.
Both Toot and Nary are really nice and the class is quite cheap – 4 dishes of your choice for $10. They also own a restaurant so they must know their stuff. It’s Nary’s Kitchen.
Dish 1: Beef Loc Lac – meaning ‘shaking the beef’ after it is quickly seared. It is then served in a special sauce and when eaten you dip it in a lime, salt, pepper sauce.
Dish 2: Green Mango Salad – this was something I requested. I really wanted to add a salad to add to my repertoire as salads are not a common thing in Asian cuisine – most of the vegetables are sautéed. This was unique because it uses the raw green mango instead of the ripe yellow mangos you see all too often travelling this part of the world.
Dish 3: Fish Amok – A classic Khmer dish of fish in a curry topped with coconut milk and steamed in a classic banana leaf. Simple and delicious!
Dish 4: Banana Coconut Dessert – this was so easy to make. 5 minutes to get your ingredients, 5 minutes to cook and voila dessert is served.
From now one we will be doing a cooking class in each country so that we can take some of Southeast Asia home with us after our trip.