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

IMG_2823

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

IMG_2804

Process:
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)

IMG_2805

IMG_2806

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

IMG_2809

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

IMG_2811

4- Add dried shrimps

IMG_2815

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

IMG_2816

6- Serve with steam rice

IMG_2822

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

Advertisements

Pickled Carrot, Cucumber, White Radish and Ginger (Chruork Carrot, Tror Sak, Thaitao, Khgney)

IMG_2239

I like to go through my fridge each week and check what is left and what need to be purchased. I am a fridge manager, a role inspired by my ex-collegue James Claridge who is an amazing guy who knows just about everything and is very passionate about saving our planet. By doing this, I make sure the fridge is clean and most importantly things are used by date and waste is minimised. This week I have a couple of carrots, some cucumbers, gingers and a piece of white radish left in the fridge so I am making Cambodian pickles.

This pickle is a side dish which goes very well with BBQ or grilled meat, grilled fish, fish cakes or grilled beef kebabs or can be used as a starter with a cold meat plater. It is very easy to make and again like many Cambodian dishes, there are many ways to pickles vegetables. It is also very versatile as you can choose or leave out vegetables as you prefer. White radish may not be everyone’s cup of tea as it has very strong smell and taste. Therefore if you don’t like it, leave them out.

The pickle will last up to three weeks in a sterilised jar, not in my case as I would empty the jar in a week. It is good to have them sitting in the fridge for days that I don’t have time to do much cooking. It would make a very nice gift also.

I hope that the recipe is easy to follow and happy pickling!

Recipe for Cambodian pickled carrots, cucumbers, white radish and ginger
Made: 2 small jars (recycled pasta sauce jars)
Time: 15 mins preparation, 5 to 10 mins process

What you need:
3 cucumbers
3 carrots
1 small white radish
1 small piece (thumb size) ginger
1 tbsp salt for washing the vegetables
1/2 tbsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 clove of garlic (optional, I do not like raw garlic so I did not use it)
2 to 3 chillies (optional, I love mine hot)

IMG_2391

Process
1- Peel carrots, ginger and white radish
2- Wash all the vegetables
3- Cut cucumbers into small wedges

IMG_2393

4- Slice carrots and radish into thin slices (approximately 2mm thick). If you want to make flowers, carve the vegetables vertically as in picture below before slicing, but this is purely for presentation

IMG_2392

5- Combine all the chopped and sliced vegetables in a large bowl and add the one table spoon of salt. Squeeze the vegetables together with the salt to soften the carrots and the radish and to get some juice out from the cucumbers. This process is called salt wash. It is done to remove the bitterness from the radish and to remove some juice from the cucumbers. This step can be skipped if you don’t mind the raw taste of the radish. This step is also recommended if you want to eat the pickles right away

IMG_2232

6- Wash the salted vegetables lightly and squeeze all the water out and drain well

After the salt wash process, the vegetables looks softer, but still are crunchy

After the salt wash process, the vegetables look softer, but are still crunchy

7- Add the rest of the ingredients to the vegetables and mix well

IMG_2238

8- Transfer into sterilised jars and leave them in the fridge. This can be served straight away although the flavour will intensify when all the veggies soak up the sweet and sour flavours

IMG_2240

IMG_2769

Send some love and give some to your loved ones

Cambodian Banana Pudding with Toasted Mung Beans (Chek Khtis)

IMG_2377

Last weekend my mother in law gave me a tier of Cambodian banana, called Namvar. She has a lot of banana trees at her backyard which give plenty of fruits through out the year. There are many types of bananas in Cambodia. I am most familiar with two types: green long one called Chek Ombong (similar to the common yellow ones found in Australia, but not as starchy and much sweeter) and the sweet short fat ones called Chek Namvar.

Chek Namva

Chek Namva

Namvar is very popuar one and is used in many Cambodian desserts. I love to eat them as fresh fruits like the Australian bananas, but because we have so much of them and they are getting very ripe and sweet, I thought I made banana pudding with coconut cream, tapioca pearls or sago and toasted mung beans. There are multiple versions of this dessert, some do not use mung beans but my mum always used the beans and I love the toasty nutty flavour they give to the dessert. I have not tried using the Australian banana, but I do not see why it cannot be used. The cooking time depends on how ripe the banana is, but it should be a very quick dessert. My kids love this dessert (they are my biggest fans especially Aaron). It can be served as it is or on top sticky rice.

I hope you enjoy making and eating the dessert and drop me a line to see how you go.

Recipe for Cambodian Banana Pudding with Toasted Mung Beans (Chek Khtis)
Serve: 4 to 6
Time: 5 mins preparation, 15 mins cooking

What you need:
100g or 1/3 cup mung beans (these beans have been halved with skin removed. You can leave this out, if you do not have them, but highly recommend from me)
1/4 cup tapioca pearls or sago
400g or 6 small ripe bananas
200ml coconut cream
2 1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp sugar ( or 6 if you like your dessert very sweet)

Optional topping
200ml coconut cream
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar

key ingredients

key ingredients

Process
1- Boil the water in a cooking pot

2- Heat up the frying pan on medium heat

3- Start peeling the skin off the bananas

4- Toast the beans in the hot frying pan and keep stirring till golden and you can smell the toasty fragrance (not burn). This should take about 2 to 3 mins

toast mung beans

toast mung beans

after a few mins, when they  become golden

after a few mins, when they become golden

5- Pour the toasted beans into the cooking pot with the water and cook for about 5 mins on medium heat till the beans are almost tender. Please do not walk away because if the heat is too high, the boiling water may spill from the pot. (Note if you do not use mung beans you can skip step 4 and 5)

IMG_2254

6- While the beans are cooking cut the banana diagonally into small pieces as below

IMG_2252

7- When the beans are almost tender (after step 5) Add sugar and salt and stir well

8- Add bananas and cook for another 3 mins or so depending on how ripe the banana is. You want the banana to cook through

IMG_2257

9- Add 200ml of coconut cream and stir well and then add the tapioca and stir again

IMG_2260

10- When the mixture just came to the boil, turn the heat off. The tapioca will continue to cook till they become clear. This should take a few mins

IMG_2261

The dessert is ready to be served as it is, but I like to add salty coconut milk on top of my dessert. If you want to try, follow the next step

11- add the extra 200ml coconut cream to a clean cooking pot and cook it in medium heat. Add 1/4 tsp of salt and 1tbsp of sugar and stir till it has little bubble and then turn the heat off

12- To serve, spoon the banana pudding into a small dessert bowl and top it with the salty coconut cream…. I am going to eat mine now. Bon appetite!

Tip: if you serve this on top of sticky rice, add more sugar to the pudding. Double the trouble I know.

IMG_2291