Khemer Cooking

Trip Start Oct 30, 2012
Trip End May 30, 2013

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Where I stayed
Tomato Guest House Battambang
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
Smokin' Pot Khemer Cooking School

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Took another cooking class today. I found this one much more enjoyable than the last. Maybe it was because this style of cooking is a bit more foreign to me (I've cooked Thai a lot before, but never Khemer).

I managed to try Amok (a famous traditional dish here) the other day and really enjoyed it. I've also heard about Lok Lak, but haven't had a chance to try that yet, so I not only got to eat it, but cook it as well. The last dish we made had morning glory in it, which I have seen on quite a few menus, but haven't tried either!

Our class started with a trip to the market, which is always exciting, I find. This was a typical small Asian market where ladies perch themselves on top of their wares and money and food are thrown around at a rapid pace! A full on assault to the senses in some areas more than others, and always a pushing and shoving match of many many bodies squeezed into a small space!

We bought veggies I'd never seen, had chickens gutted and fish clubbed and scaled. Everything is so fresh it's hard to believe. Our chef would walk by several different meat vendors and squeeze their tenderloin to see which was the best before buying. At one point, he bought double the aubergine needed because he thought the new ones were fresher than the others. My favourite were the veggie vendors who laid their wares out on water lily leaves to keep them clean.

After all that excitement, it was back to make a curry paste. Everything in Khemer cooking revolves around the curry paste. This is used in many dishes with the variation coming with meat and veggies to be added. This was much more work than Thai cooking. Everything was finely chopped and diced before going into the mortar and pestal: lemon grass, garlic, kamphir lime leaves, dried chillies, galangal, tumeric...and probably more i'm forgetting right now! We even make our own coconut milk with ground coconut and water.

Amok: traditionally made with fish (we used snake head fish), beans, mushrooms and aubergine cooked in coconut milk.

Lok Lak: traditionally beef with sauce served over lettuce tomato and cucumber and is eaten with the hands by wrapping ingredients in lettuce leaves and dipping in an additional sauce of garlic, lime and pepper – yum!

Chicken with morning glory, basil and chillies: the first time I've sweat while eating since Thailand!

Leaving from another class stuffed to the gills! Unfortunately, Brian didn't get to try any this time as I was not the only one in the class this morning :)

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Bonnie on

Your dishes look interesting and delicous on


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