My Signature Meatballs (Sui Mai)


Good evening all! How are we? I am absolutely pumped after two weeks off for a family holidays to Bali and Cambodia. We also took our mothers along with us. We tried to take our parents out to places as much as we could before they get too old to walk. Our fathers were not so keen on Bali, so they missed out. We spent nine nights in Bali Indonesia, one night in Singapore and four nights in Cambodia. The Bali holiday was a relaxing one as we spent most of our time at a luxury resort. Kudos to Pan Pacific Nirwana’s management and staff, the resort was very well maintained and the staff were very friendly and welcoming. The foods were very delicious every where we ate in Bali. However, the Cambodian trip was what left me inspired and energised to love life and my families even more. I was very touched by all my uncles, aunties, cousins and friends who came and visited us and took us around to places despite their busy life and hardship over there. After living in Australia away from all the relatives and friends, I had not felt that connection and care for a long time. I felt so blessed to have them in my life.

Enough about my trip, tonight I am sharing with you a recipe for my signature meatballs. This meatball dish is a fusion of Italian and Cambodian meatballs (Sui Mai). The recipes are made up as I neither know how to cook the authentic Khmer nor Italian meatballs, but the flavour combination is explosive. My family loves it. Each time I made them, I made a lot so that I can distribute some to my in-law and my parents. They can be served with pasta, breads or rice.

There is a secret ingredient which made the meatball special. It is lemon zest. I have tried the recipe without it and I know I can’t go without my zest. And the Cambodian in me tells me to also use coriander in my meatballs and it works a treat. The Italian side of the dish should be the pasta sauce and some other herbs that I also use. So without any more delay, please try the recipe below and let me know if this should be my signature meatballs.

Recipe for my Signature Meatballs (Sui Mai)
Make: 30 meatballs (golf ball size)
Time: 20 mins preparation, 30 mins cooking

What you need:
1kg pork mince
4 onions
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 bunch (about 5 to 6 roots) of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp black peppers
zest of two lemons or limes
2 jars of pasta sauce (2 x 500g)
olive oil


1- Peel onions and chop them finely


2- Combine all ingredients and mix well


3- Coat the frying pan with some oil. If you make a small portion, just use the cooking pot as you will need it later

4- Make balls the size of golf ball or larger and arrange them on the frying pan or pot


5- Place the frying pan on cooktop on high to sear the meatballs all around. Note that because I made a lot of the balls, I need to do this in a few batches


6- Transfer the seared balls into a pot, then add the pasta sauce. You can choose any flavour of the sauce you want, or just a pure tomato paste. I love roasted vegetables and garlics


I used Dolmio because it was on sales

I used Dolmio because it was on sales


9- Cover the pot with lid and shake the pot slightly so that the sauce mix with the balls without stirring because stirring it can break the balls. Continue cooking on medium heat for another 10 to 15 mis depending on the amount of meatball made

10- Serve with rice or pasta or baguette



Tips: If you don’t have coriander at home, I have used other dried herbs such as rosemary, basil and thymes. They all worked well. This can also be used to make burger patty.


Stir Fry Beanette Beans with Minced Pork and Dried Shrimps (Char Sandek Barang)


My apology that I have not posted in the last few weeks. I have been busy planning our family holiday to Bali and Cambodia. Although when I am back, I will also be busy with study as the semester would already start. I will try to post twice a month if everyone in the family are healthy as winter hasn’t been too kind since becoming a mum. Only when I started this blog that I realised how much work bloggers have spent on the contents of their blogs. I now read blogs with respect. Anyway, the holidays are all booked and tours are organised. I am very excited and look forward to seeing some friends and families in Cambodia. Only three more sleeps to go! My older son Eric has counted down daily since 6 weeks ago.

For tonight dinner I am making stir fry beanette beans with minced pork and dried srimps. I like beans whether they are snake beans, sweet peas or beanettes. I find it quite fascinating how some flavour combinations work together. Sweet peas for example go very well with seafood such as prawns or squids while beanettes go very well with minced pork. Beanettes are called Sandek Barang in Khmer (French beans). Anything with the word french attached to it is considered more valuable and therefore more expensive in Cambodia. Potato is one example. The normal potatoes we have here in Australia are called French potatoes in Khmer and they are more expensive than sweet or other types of potatoes. For this reason, we often used more snake beans in Cambodia. In Sydney, it is the opposite, beanettes are cheaper and available all year round.

My love for this dish started from one lunch at Din Tai Fung. They have this dish on the menu although they use snake beans and it was so delicious. I then tried to modify it at home using beanettes and add dried shrimps for more saltiness and textures. It was beautiful and has became our regular dish.

Recipe for Stir Fry Beanettes Beans with Minced Pork and Dried Shrimps (Char Sandek Barang)
Serve: 2
Time: 15 to 20 mins including preparation

What you need:
100g beanettes
150g minced pork
1 tbsp dried shrimps (optional). They can be found at most Chinese grocery
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 sugar
1 clove garlic finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil


1- Wash and cut beans into small pieces (cut into 2 or three depending on bean’s length). Wash dried shrimps with water (it may not be necessary, but I was taught to do so)



2- Heat wok or frying pan on high and add oil and garlic. Saute garlic till golden


3- Add minced pork and use the wooden spatula or spoon to break the mince to evenly small pieces. Add the seasoning and keep stirring till the mince become golden


4- Add dried shrimps


5 – Add beans and stir for another 2 mins till the beans are slightly cooked but still firm and the colour are still bright green (or if you like your beans softer, cook for a min or so longer). Turn off the heat


6- Serve with steam rice


Tips: adjust seasoning according to your taste. Can use soy sauce and reduce salt. I have done it before and it works fine.

Stir Fry Tofu with Pork and Bean Sprout (Char Taohou)


This is my sister’s favourite stir fry. It is very simple yet very delicious. I remembered she usually asked mum to make it when she was back home for uni break. Now that she has her own family, she probably feeds them this every week. I cheated a little with this dish as I bought the deep fried tofu in stead of frying them myself at home. This saved me about 10 mins or so but I only did this because the tofu was freshly fried and distributed to the store. How did I know that? Well I befriended the grocery owner ( and also my butcher for the meat) and I could tell the texture of the tofu whether they are fresh or not. If you can’t find already fried tofu, fresh ones are even better, it’s just that you need to fry them first before cooking. The traditional dish also uses chive flowers. I did not have them so I left them out, but there should be plenty at the Asian grocery in Sydney especially Cabramatta.

I hope you give this a go and tell me how you like your tofu.

Recipe for Stir Fry Tofu with Pork and Bean Sprout (Char Taohou)
Serve: 2
Time: 15 mins to 30 mins including preparation time

What you need:
150g bean sprout
150g lean pork fillet sliced thinly
300g fresh firm tofu cut into small rectangles or cubes
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 Cracked black pepper
Olive oil
Chive flowers


1- Coat the hot wok or frying pan with some olive oil

2- Pan fry the tofu pieces till golden on every side (I cheated and skipped these two steps because I bought the pre-deep fried tofu). Remove tofu from the pan and set aside

3- Add about a tsp of olive oil and sauté the garlic till golden


4- Add pork and the seasoning and keep stirring till the pork is cooked


5- Add bean sprout and tofu and stir till combined. If they look dry add a few table spoons of water as the sprout will also be watery as they are cooked. This should only take two mins or so



6- Turn off the heat and plate the stir fry, top with chive flowers (if you have) and cracked peppers



Khmer Stir Fry Salmon and Ginger (Char Khgney Trey Salmon)


It is only second day of winter and I already felt like I am coming down with something. I hope I do not pass it on to the kids. Coming home late as usual and no dinner from any of the mums, I decided to cook Khmer stir fry salmon with ginger and hope that the ginger will help me fight the cold although it may be a little too late.

This dish is our family favourite. It is one of the dish that I had proudly created as we love ginger stir fry. The Khmer traditional stir fry ginger uses pork or chicken. My freezer always has ginger and salmon. I took a piece of salmon out of the freezer before I left to work this morning just in case I might need to cook something quick as I was not sure if we were eating at Borey’s mum when we pick up Aaron after work. Borey already cooked rice which meant our dinner will be ready in about 15 mins. Hurray! My shredded gingers were still frozen in the freezer, but it can be cooked right away.

If you cannot handle too much gingers, just use a little bit of ginger for the flavour and the dish would still taste great. I encourage you to give this dish a go and tell me how you like your ginger stir fry.

Recipe for Khmer Stir Fry Salmon and Ginger (Char Khgney Trey Salmon)
Serve: 2
Time: 15 mins preparation, 15 mins cooking

What you need:
1 piece of salmon fillet – skin free (palm size piece)
1 large piece of fresh young ginger (or a cup of shredded young ginger)
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp sweet thick soy sauce (se-eve khup in khmer)
1 tsp light soy sauce
olive oil



1- Peel skin off ginger and slice into thin strip. This can be prepared early and stored for weeks in freezer



2- Cut the salmon in to thick slices (about 2cm thick)


3- If you use frozen ginger, put frying pan on hot plate and defrost ginger in the frying pan (high heat). Use the wooden spatula to toss it around to speed up the defrost process. When the gingers become soft and watery, add a little olive oil and keep stirring every now and then to fry the gingers till golden in colour

4- If you use fresh ginger, start with coating the hot pan with olive oil and then add ginger and fry gingers till golden in colour by stirring it every now and then


5- Remove gingers from pan

6- Add a little olive oil to the pan and add garlic. Saute garlic for a few seconds till golden colour

7- Add salmon and quickly toss with garlic for a few seconds then add all the seasonings and stir gently to combine the fish and the soys and not braking the fish. Turn the heat off after 2 to 3 mins so the fish is not overcooked



8- Add the ginger and toss slightly to combine

9- Transfer to a plate and serve with steam rice.


Tips: You can use other white fish fillets

Sweet and Sour Fish Soup (Samlor Marchu Yuon)

Cambodian family meal mostly consists of jasmine rice and at least two main dishes (one dry and one soup). Dry dishes can be grilled meat or stir fry dish. Today I am cooking one of my favourite soups, Samlor Marchu Yuon. The direct translation is “Vietnamese sour soup”. As the name suggests, this soup originated from Vietnam, but it was modified to suit Cambodia’s produce. There are multiple versions of this soup according to each family. In Sydney, my mum and I had modified it to suit Sydney’s produce. My 18 months old loves eating this soup, in fact it has became our soup dish most weeks as he would only eat these kind of soups recently.

What I love about this soup is that it is so flexible. You can also use chicken in stead of fish or even seafood. In terms of vegetables you can pick and choose from a number of vegetables depending on availability. In Cambodia, the authentic recipe uses young white lotus roots (kror ao chuk). They come in can in Sydney. I had tried it and did not like it because it has lost its sweetness and was very chewy. So my mum and I had experimented a number of vegetables to use for this soup and they work well and I actually like them very much. We also used our home made chicken stock although stored bought one is also ok. In fact, I never used stock in my cooking at all in Cambodia. Only when we moved to Sydney that we learnt how to use stock. I think because back in Cambodia, we normally use whole fish including fish head and the fresh ingredients already make the soup so tasty. So without going on further, lets start cooking and I hope that you enjoy this soup as much as my baby boy Aaron. Please let me know how you go.

Recipe for Sweet and Sour Fish Soup (Samlor Marchu Yuon)
Serving: 2
Time: 15 mins preparation, 15 mins cooking

What you need:
3 cups of chicken stock (if not, water is fine)
1 stalk of lemon grass bruised and/or 1 kaffir lime leave (better to have both)
1 clove of garlic bruised
2 slices of canned ring pineapple or 1/4 fresh pineapple peeled and core
1 medium size tomatoes or 5 cherry tomatoes
1 medium size cucumber
(or any one or combination of these: young white lotus roots, zucchini, winter melon, elephant stem (khdart), celery, bean sprout)
250g fish fillet (white fish or salmon, or even chicken)
1 tbsp tamarind concentrate paste
(from asian grocery, adjust to your preference of sourness. Can also use powder or fresh tamarind if available)
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp fish sauce (for serving)
A handful of basil or long coriander (culantro or recao) for garnish
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1 chilli (optional)

top left to right: tamarind paste, canned pineapple, basil, tomato, cucumber and salmon

Tamarind paste, canned pineapple, basil, tomato, cucumber and salmon

fish sauce

fish sauce

lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves

lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves

1- Put stock or water, lemon grass and kaffir lime and bruised garlic in a cooking pot and bring to the boil


2- Cut the vegetables as in the picture below


3- When the stock is boiled, add cucumber and pineapple, and cook for 5 mins

4- Add in the seasonings: salt, sugar, fish sauce (2 tbsp) and tamarind paste. Taste the soup to see if you are happy with the flavour then add the tomato and the fish. When the soup comes to the boil, turn off the heat and remove pot from hot stove so the fish is not over cooked. Add bean sprout here if you are using them


5- Heat the oil in the frying pan and sauté the garlic till golden. Remove the garlic from oil and into the soup. Discard the oil.

6 – Chop the basil and chilli roughly

7- When serving, add the basil and other garnish on top of the soup. I also add in the fried shallots for crispiness. Put the extra 1 tbsp fish sauce in a small sauce bowl and add chilli in the fish sauce. This is an optional dip for those who want more saltiness and the chilli heat. Serve with steamed jasmine rice. Bon appetite!

The final product

The final product

My dinner tonight

My dinner tonight