Monday, June 23, 2014

Num Banh Chok @ Khmer Noodles - AFF Indochina~ Cambodian #1

Num Banh Chok is fresh rice noodles in Cambodia. Quite similar with Vietnamese bún. It can be served with many types of gravy and broth. This time, I want to try Samlor Khmer, the traditional version.
Because the fresh version isn't available here, I made do with dried bún.

After I cooked this.... it hit me that it has similarities with the local Kelantanese Laksae and Laksam. Aromatic coconutty fish broth with fresh noodles...what's not to love?

my very large jar of prahok from Cambodia

There area few special ingredients in this dish....First of all... prahok. It is fermented fish, freshwater fish. When it's fermented, you can imagine the smell. To me, it smells like stinky tofu. A parent, whom I got to know from my girl's ballet lessons travels to Cambodia often, and so, she got me a large bottle of it. Now I got to think of many many ways to finish it. Way too much :-(
Now this new friend of mine also asked me whether I will want some fresh Num Banh Chok instead. Come to think of it, both of us were worried, it won't last the journey.

And the fingerroot. Known as temu kunci locally or krachai in Thailand is from my Thai friend, ah Nee. I know that it can be bought from Chow Kit market, but it's 300km away from me. And I went to ask ah Nee whether she knew any of her Thai friends happen to grow it here. And immediately she asked me if I would want it now. She just happened to have a lot, bought from her last trip home. Lucky? Yeah!!!

As for roasted rice powder, you can refer here.
And the rest of the ingredients are quite common here.

Num Banh Chok @ Khmer Noodles

Reference: Mom's Cambodian Recipes (video) and Khmer Krom
Serves  6

600 gm catfish (patin fish with head, use less if it's flesh only)
2L water

Grind to a paste
1/2 cup sliced lemon grass
2 Tbsp sliced fingerroot
1 Tbsp chopped galangal
4 cloves garlic
2 red chillies
2 spring onions
3 kaffir lime leaves
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp prahok
2 Tbsp roasted rice powder
200ml coconut milk

Raw bean sprouts
Raw long beans
Blanched banana blossom
Mint leaves

1. Bring water to boil and put in catfish. Bring to back to a boil and lower to a simmer  as you prepare the other ingredients.
2. During this time prepare the lemongrass paste mixture.
3. Remove the fish and let it cool down. Put the lemongrass mixture into the fish broth and simmer. Add in prahok and roasted rice powder.
4. Flake the fish and discard the skin and bones. Put the flesh back into the boiling broth.
5. Season with fish sauce and salt, if needed. Add in coconut milk and stir it well. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes, and it's ready to be served.

To serve:
Twirl some medium thickness rice vermicelli into a bowl. Ladle the gravy over and serve vegetables on the side.

Gravy ingredients 

Tried twirling the noodles properly, didn't quite turn out well.

the herbs and accompanying vegetables

I am submitting this to Asian Food Fest Indochina Month

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