stew

32. Cambodia: Pork and Rice Soup

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Welcome C! I can’t believe it we have been through al the countries with an A and a B time has flown by and I have learned so much already about cooking and about the world. I have to admit it makes me little proud that it’s been going so well! Thanks to all of you! So later this week I promise I will bake a nice big cake and add the recipe :D.

But now Cambodia, when I started googling Cambodia pictures of hidden temples and statues in the rainforest came up. It reminded me a little of Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. But apparently that was filmed in Sri Lanka (I get distracted very easily, I have the attention span of a goldfish, it’s disturbing, we call it sdbing = studydodgingbehaviour). Cambodia seems to be known for it’s deep blue seawater, enchanting rainforests, fairytale like mangroves, great food, majestic temples, and happy people. So what else it there about Cambodia that your probably don’t know:

  • Tarantula kebabs are a popular delicacy in Cambodia.
  • Cambodia is the most unexplored country in Southeast Asia. Here tourist can really dive into the life of ancient Asia. Even today, in Cambodia it is possible to meet a person who has never watched TV.
  • The most common myths about Cambodia: There is a war, it is very dangerous here, everyone walking around with guns, kill people, hunger, poverty and unrest.
    In fact, Cambodia is certainly not a rich country, but it is so fertile that no one is starving here. The war ended 30 years ago.
  • Cambodians love to sleep outside in the hammocks.

cambodia

I love South East Asian food, it’s so light and healthy. This week I made Pork and Rice Soup! It was great, when I put the pan on the table my brother mentioned it looked like glue! But it’s sooo yummy, a great budget midnight meal!

Pork and Rice Soup
Pork and Rice Soup

Ingredients Marinate pork: 200 gram ground pork, 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce, 2 teaspoon sugar

Ingredients Broth: 9 cups of water, 2 stalks of lemongrass (cracked), thumb size piece of ginger peeled and smashed, 4 flat anchovies (packed in oil), salt to taste, 3/4 cup of jasmine rice (rinsed in cold water and drained), 2 table spoons of peanut oil, 5 cloves of garlic,

Ingredients Toppings: 1/4 cup of Thai fish sauce, 1 bird chile (chopped), 4 shallots (peeled and diced), 2 cups of beansprouts, 1 bunch of scallions thinly sliced, 1/2 roasted unsalted peanuts, 1 lime, salt and pepper

In a small bowl stir the pork with fish sauce and sugar. Set aside. Place water, ginger, lemongrass, salt and dried shrimp (if using) in a large heavy pot and bring to a boil. Boil steadily for 5 minutes. Add rinsed rice to the pot. When it returns to a boil, lower heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. While the rice is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring constantly, until tender and golden, about 3 minutes, Regulate the heat so they don’t burn. Transfer shallots to a condiment bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the same skillet and toss in the garlic and anchovies (if using) Stir-fry for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the pork and cook, stirring and breaking up any lumps, until the pork is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the pork stir-fry to the soup pot, once the rice has finished cooking. Stir through. Season with salt, to taste. Mix the bird chile with ¼ cup fish sauce in a small condiment bowl. Set aside. Just before serving, gently reheat the soup. Divide the shredded cabbage or sprouts among the bowls. Add a pinch of shredded basil and a pinch of scallions to each bowl. Ladle the soup on top. Add a bit of each topping and a generous grinding of black pepper to each bowl. Serve with a lime wedges and prik nam pla on the side. Enjoy!

I found some Cambodian popmusic this videoclip is definatelly worth watching, i don’t think you can find anything more dorky on the entire internet, but it’s hilarious. If you know the lyrics you can even sing along!

21. Benin: Mouton à l’Arachide (Lamb with Peanuts)

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Benin, a country with a dark history like no other, it’s last place the slaves saw when the were taken from their homes all around around Africa. Can you imagine them sitting on a boat not knowing where they are going, being so afraid of all the stuff around you that you have never seen before. Strange people yelling at you in a language you can’t understand. They must have been so scared! Luckily that’s history!

Elephants, lions and crocodiles can be seen in more animated form in the northern wildlife parks, notably Pendjari, one of the best in West Africa. Then there are the stilt villages, home to thousands in the southern lagoons. Not only is Benin a richly historical and cultural country, this politically stable nation is one of the easiest parts of West Africa to travel in. So here are some fun facts of Benin:

  • Benin is the birthplace of Voodoo: Benin is the only country that recognizes Voodoo as a religion, almost 2/3 of the population worships Voodoo Gods
  • Languages spoken in Benin: French, Fon, Haussa, Yoruba, Dendi, Bariba and Ge
  • Benin, formerly known as Dahomey, was one of the first countries in the 1990s to successfully effect the change from dictatorship to a pluralistic political system. Today, it is one of the most stable countries in Africa.

So here we go, the recipe! I really liked this one although I had my doubts when I started but it turned out really really well!

lamb stew with peanut sauce

Ingredients: 1.5kg lamb shoulder cubed ,6 tbsp peanut butter, 900ml water, 60ml groundnut oil, 2 onions, chopped 2 garlic cloves, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 tbsp powdered shrimp, 8  small carrots, cut into chunks 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 1 small cabbage, shredded, salt and black pepper to taste, splash of soy sauce to taste

Add the water to a large pan and bring to a boil. Mix-in the peanut butter and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Cool and remove any fat from the surface. Meanwhile fry the lamb in the groundnut oil until browned then add the onions and cook until golden brown. Add the garlic, thyme and powdered shrimp and season with salt. Stir to mix then add the carrots and cabbage. Fry for a minute then add the peanut butter and water mix. Bring to a boil reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes before adding the sweet potato. Add the soy sauce and do not forget to season well, don’t be shy with the black pepper, you don’t want it to be blend! Cook for a further 40 minutes, until the vegetables are tender then serve with rice.

13. Azerbaijan: Lamb stew with chestnuts and dried fruit

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My last country that starts with an A! 1 letter done 25 to go! Azerbaijan also referred  to as “The Land of Fire” mostly because their old religion used to consider fire as a holy element and also because of The Burning Mountain a rare natural wonder in the Absheron peninsula. It burns all year round due to natural gas escaping from the ground. And with burn I mean flames! It should be spectacular sight!

  • There are 8,350 rivers in Azerbaijan, and all of them drain into the Caspian Sea
  • There main income is oils, they have a LOT of oil
  • SELFIE UTOPIA! Azeri people love taking pictures of themselves and love when you take pictures of them, especially men! But if you would like to take a picture of for instance an oilfield of a police officer of even his car that’s big NO GO!
  • Azerbaijan is a country of watermelons. But there is something very specific about they way  you eat watermelon there. Always with a white cheese and bread. And no this is not a typo

Over to the recipe. This week I made a lamb stew with chestnuts and dried fruit. It was really really good! Real comfort food. Tis recipe is for 4. The onions and the apricots make this dish really sweet. So best not to combine with a sweet wine to overcome it being too sweet.

Lamb stew with chestnuts and dried fruit
Lamb stew with chestnuts and dried fruit

Ingredients: 500g of lamb meat (lamb shoulder of the bone), 4 big white onions, 1 large tablespoon of all spice  a handful of canned chestnuts, a handful of dried apricots, a handful of raisins, a few threads of safran, 1 spoon of turmeric, salt/pepper/, juice of 1 lemon, butter or any cooking oil other than olive oil

Put a few threads of saffron in a cup and add boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse. Chop the lamb into bite-sized chunks. Place in a pan of water and bring to the boil. Remove the foam that forms on top, then add the all spice. When the meat is soft, remove from the water. Keep the water you cooked the meat in! Pour boiling water onto the dried fruit and let is soak for 3-4 minutes and drain. Brown the softened meat in melted butter of oil (anything but olive oil) Cut the the onions in rings and fry them in butter. Add the meat and stir. Add the chestnuts, dried fruit, turmeric, and salt and peper to the meat and fry  for 3-4. Add a ladle of the bouillon from the meat, the saffron infusion and the lemon juice. Let it simmer for about an hour. Serve with rice