Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cooking in Cambodia

When I realized I was going to Siem Reap for the 2nd time, I knew I had to do something different. We only had limited time, so I was running out of options. Good thing I discovered a cooking class at Le Tigre de Papier.

We inquired about the class when we we dined in their Italian resto during the 1st night. We were told that the cost of the class would be $12 per person, which is inclusive of the ingredients and a market tour. It was a good deal I thought, so we confirmed our attendance.

However, when the day came, only 3 of us were able to wake up, since we partied the night before. We were worried that we won't be accommodated anymore, since with all of us, it was supposed to be a private class. We still took our chances, and after some begging, we were allowed to go on the class, but without the market tour anymore. It was alright for us, since the market tour would just introduce us to the ingredients, which we wouldn't buy anyway. All the ingredients were already prepared. We won't be going to the market here anyway.

So we were made to choose 2 dishes to make per person, one appetizer and one main course. We chose two salads (Spicy Shrimp Stringbean Salad and Mango Salad) and Fresh Spring Rolls. For our main courses, we chose Stir Fried Beef, Chicken Amok and Spicy Seafood Curry. We prepared our ingredients, cutting and chopping. We even made our own curry paste.

We also made a dessert for free. The picture above shows the dessert, Tapioca Balls and Pumpkin in Coconut Milk (much like ginataan but with pumpkin instead of kamote).

The picture above is one of the finished products, the Spicy Shrimp Salad. The picture below obviously shows the Fresh Spring Rolls.

This was the Seafood Curry in the making. Our teacher had a secret ingredient: Chicken Powder. She added it to almost all the cooked dishes. She said it gave more flavor. Think MSG.

I plated my Chicken Amok on banana leaves. I was hoping to put it in a coconut shell though. The amok that we made was different from the one we tasted the day before in our lunch at the temples. I liked the one we previously had.

We finished the class around 11:00 PM, so it took us around 2 hours to cook everything. We invited all the sleepy heads to taste our food. This was our lunch was well. It was enough for all of us!

Cooking in Cambodia was definitely an eye opener for me. I love Asian cuisine, and this was my first class on Asian fare. I am seriously considering taking up more courses, and even get a diploma in culinary studies. Mhy ultimate goal of course is to put up a restaurant by next year. I hope that pushes though.

So, with that, I end our short but sweet and jam-packed adventure in Cambodia.  We now fly back to Saigon, and head onwards to our final destination, Mui Ne in the province of Phan Thiet, Vietnam. 

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