Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Kitchen My World -- Cambodia

First a little apology to all of my wonderful blogging friends, I've had a super busy week and feel like I've been neglecting Nummy Kitchen and all of the blogs I love to read and comment on. I do appreciate every visitor to my little home on the web and love sharing about cooking and food (and everything else) with you all! Hopefully this week will give me some more time with Nummy Kitchen, I've really been wanting to 'challenge' myself to blog every night. There are so many fun little foodie things or recipes that I come across through out the week and I always think to myself, "hey, I should post about that," but lately we've been busy with out never ending house remodel (more like never ending repairs) and I have to wait until all the kiddos are fast asleep before bloggin' time. I hope you guys can understand :)

A big thank you to Lauren at I'll Eat You, who took over at My Kitchen My World this past week and picked Cambodia for the country of the week! What an intriguing choice! I googled away, not knowing anything about Cambodian cuisine, and found many amazing sounding recipes. The problem I had was finding ingredients, with no Asian grocers in the area and no time to order online I did the best with what I was able to get to try to make these dishes authentic but I'm sure they barely compare to 'real' Cambodian food. I have book marked many recipes that I will try when I can find the proper ingredients. A lot of the time if I see a recipe that sounds interesting but no photos I google image search the recipe title and then try to base my recipe on the 'looks' of something authentic. That's what I did with this Khmer Noodle Soup I made, pictured above. Lots of thin noodles and veggies in a flavorful broth made from homemade mushroom stock. The soup is based on a few recipes I found this website which is a great resource for Cambodian recipes.

The dish I was most excited to try was Manor Kho To Hu -- caramelized pineapple and tofu. Now some of you might not be too interested in that dish but I absolutely love tofu and pineapple and had never thought of them together (although it seems like I have tried them both with just about everything else). The recipe I found here, a great website that I've just started exploring with Cambodian recipes and recipes from many other countries as well. The recipe calls for fried tofu which I have been able to find on rare occasions at the nearest Meijer, but I didn't have any and decided to make my own. It's really easy to do and gives the tofu a great texture that even non-tofu-fans *usually* enjoy.

First take a regular block of extra firm tofu, slice it and press it between paper towels under a heavy plate for an hour or so. At that point you can marinate it as desired or just go straight to dredging it in corn starch. Marinating it gives it extra flavor but is not needed if you plan to use it with a saucy dish.

Deep fry it in hot oil (I mainly use canola) -- if you don't have a deep fryer you can just do it in a heavy bottomed deep pot on the stove, put in about 2 inches of oil. You want the temperature between 350-375 but to be completely honest I didn't even bother with the thermometer today. My deep fryer is on the fritz and I haven't gotten around to buying a new one yet since we don't fry that often. Fry the tofu until golden brown and very crispy. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels or a cooling rack -- I usually use paper towels but according to Alton Brown that is the wrong way, it just keeps the food close to the oil and makes it greasy (which I've never really had a problem with). On his show he recommends just removing the fried items to a cooling rack, works for me :)

I know in the actual recipe you are supposed to caramelize the tofu with the pineapple but I left if off and just made the pineapple and sauce and the tofu on the side for picky eaters. Serve this with sticky jasmine rice -- a favorite here! I will make this again for sure and add the tofu in. Also if you try the recipe on the site I recommend doubling the pineapple and sauce. I really enjoyed my little culinary trip to Cambodia this week, and can't wait to get some imported ingredients and try more Khmer cuisine!


Elra said...

Andrea, I am sure it's very frustrating not to be able to have ingredients in hand when you actually wanting to try to cook an exotic dish. It happen to me sometimes.
I am glad that you find a recipe that work for you.

Caramelized tofu and pineapple sounds so delicious!
Cheers, Elra

Natashya said...

I love the sound of the pineapple dish, I love cooked pineapple - yum.

Debinhawaii said...

Both dishes sound great. I have never had pineapple and tofu together either but it looks and sounds really good!

HoneyB said...

This actually really interests me! I love anything made with Tofu. Grumpy on the other hand.....well, need I say more?

Moderator MKMW said...

great job Andrea, even with limited ingredients available! The pineapple and tofu dish looks great- was it like a dessert or was it more like a sweet and sour type of dish? Either way I would try it! Great job!!

Andrea said...

Thanks everyone! I really can't wait to make the pineapple tofu again, it was more of a salty sweet sour than a sweet dessert dish, I really loved it. Hubby isn't a tofu fan (or a pineapple fan) so this will probably be a dish I make when he's at work.

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