Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cooking Cambodian Style

While in Phnom Penh, John and I treated ourselves to a Cambodian cooking class at Frizz Restaurant.  The full-day cooking and eating extravaganza is something we certainly will remember and recommend.  

Our day began early with a trip to the market with our guides.  This young woman not only described the many different fruits and vegetables on display, she also purchased what we would be cooking later in the day.  

Most Cambodians do not shop for a week’s worth of groceries at a time.  The homes that do have refrigerators usually have only small ones and space is at a premium.  Instead, it is common to make a trip to the market early each morning to choose meat or fish and produce for that day’s use.  It can get pretty competitive as everyone tries to get the freshest ingredients.

Our cooking class was held in an open-air kitchen on top of what appeared to be a residence.  Access was by a steep, narrow staircase.  However, once we arrived we found a lovely setting with sixteen cooking stations where we would work.

Each person received the ingredients to be used in that dish, artfully arranged on a plate or basket.  

We then chopped, or in this case pounded the ingredients into a fine paste with a mortar and pestle.  We managed to work up a sweat as our chef-instructor kept telling us to pound it “just a little bit more.”  

After the preparation was finished, we enjoyed, among other dishes, a lovely curry; my favorite, a pomelo and shrimp salad; and a custard baked in a pumpkin.

If that wasn't enough, when we arrived back at Jimmy and Nine’s apartment, another feast was waiting.  It included these delightful small fish that are fried crisp and eaten like French fries.  What a great day!

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