Sweet Potato Rice Donut Balls

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This recipe idea started from a catch-up lunch with a few of my Cambodian friends who worked near me in the CBD. My friend Shirley bought some Thai sweet potato donuts from Chat Thai and shared them with everyone. They were very delicious and addictive. I just couldn’t stop eating them. Shirley laughed at me as she had the same crush for these donuts. I told her the texture of the donuts were very similar to the Cambodian deep fry balls called Nom Krauch, except it didn’t use sweet potato and Nom Krauch had sweet mung bean filling and was coated by sesame seeds. I challenged myself and was determined to replicate these delicious balls.

I searched for the recipes online, but didn’t seem to find anything that matched what I was looking for. My in-law has Nom Krauch recipe, but that does not use sweet potato. If I could not find anything I will use her recipe and add sweet potatoes and adjust accordingly. However after more searching, I came across a Korean blogger called Holly from Beyond Kimchee blog. Her recipe was the closest to what I was looking for. By adding my small twist to it, I got the balls that I was so addicted to eating.

Holly’s recipe is different to other donut recipes because it uses glutenous rice flour which gives that chewy texture to the balls and not the typical donut texture. Because of my root as a Cambodian, I replaced milk with coconut cream. I know hey, it already sounds exciting. According to Holly, rice flour does not absorb as much oil as wheat flour, another motivation to make these balls. The dough also freezes well, so when I feel like my sweet potato donut fix, I can quickly deep fry them.

Let see if you can recreate this at home and become another addict.

Recipe for Sweet Potato Rice Donut Balls
Made: approximately 40 balls
Time: 20 mins preparation, 15 mins cooking

What you need:
0.5 kg sweet potatoes
2 cups glutenous rice flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour (can omit for gluten free)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup hot coconut cream
oil for frying
Extra sugar for coating (optional)

Process:
1- Cook sweet potatoes with skin on in any method you prefer. I just use microwave according to its instruction. It took me about 8 mins

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2- Halve the cooked potatoes and scoop the flesh out to a bowl. Mash them well

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3- In a large bowl combine all other dry ingredients. (If you have a thermomix, add all in bowl and mix on speed 3 for 5 seconds)

4- Add the mashed potatoes to the rice flour mix and start rubbing them together with your hand. Be extra careful as the potatoes may still be hot. You will soon see them forming fine crumbs. (In thermomix, speed 4 for 5 to 10 seconds then knead for 1 mins)

5- Add half of hot coconut cream first and use spoon to mix them till well combined. Add more coconut cream according to the texture of the dough. You do not want it too wet as it is hard to roll them into ball. The dough should be similar to bread dough. (In thermomix, add warm coconut cream through the lead whole bit at a time and knead for 2 to 3 mins till well combined and get to required consistency)

6- Roll dough into small size balls (smaller than golf balls)

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7- Heat oil but not overly hot. I used low to medium heat and adjust it according to your stove. If the oil is too hot it will burn the outside and the inside is still uncooked

8- Deep fry the balls as needed and freeze the left over. You need to roll the balls around in the hot oil using metal strainer until they become evenly brown and crispy outside

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9- Strain the balls and place them on a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess oil

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10- Place extra sugar in a bowl or plate and coat the balls with sugar (Optional, skip this if you do not like sugar)

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Tips: you can hide a surprise inside the balls. Maybe chocolates, or caramelised shredded coconuts, or sweet mung beans. I have tried it wrapping the dough around a piece of taro coated with sugar and it is quite yummy. Holly’s recipe used cinnamon sugar to coat the balls like the actual donuts. I prefer the taste of raw sugar.

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

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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

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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)

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

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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

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4- Add dried shrimps

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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

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6- Serve with steam rice

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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)

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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

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Process:
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

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

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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

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

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

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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

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

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

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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

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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

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8- Add the ginger and toss slightly to combine

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

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Tips: You can use other white fish fillets