As I wrote about in the post about the culinary traveling the countries of the Olympics, our first stop is Cambodia. I am sorry to say that I do not know much about the history of Cambodia as I feel that I should. Cambodia is surrounded by the Gulf of Thailand, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. The place the country is best known for is Angkor Wat.
This is the eighth time Cambodia has been a part of the Summer Olympics. They have six athletes participating in four different events: swimming, Taekwondo, track and field, and wrestling. (Thank you Google and Wikipedia for making this easy.)
If I would have put more time into planning this the dinner would have been decorated with Cambodian Flags, some facts about the country, and possibly traditional music. But I am still in the process of putting the menu together for the month. While all of this was missing, but not missed, it was nice to pull something together last minute and it turn out tasting good.
The dish I selected was one of six in The Frugal Gourmet On Our Immigrant Ancestors by Jeff Smith. The dishes included are Cambodian Raw Fish Salad, Cambodian Fried Rice Noodle with Beef and Bean Curd, Cambodian Beef Salad, Cambodian Beef Steak on a Stick, Cambodian Sweet Pork and Egg, and Cambodian Sweet and Sour Soup.
I decided to make the Cambodian Beef Salad. Instead of using beef I used tofu and as soon as I started eating was wishing for the beef. And for some vermicelli noddles. The dish was quick and easy and tasty. One of the most noticeable ingredients is the fish sauce which gives it its distinctive taste.
There are no pictures because it feels weird to take pictures of the foods that I make. But not taking pictures of THE dish for a blog post is like writing about a bike ride with beautiful scenery without any pictures. However, there was nothing beautiful about this dish. If you decide to make it, it can look the way you want it to, the way it turns out for you instead of being based on the picture you see. But if you are curious here is one I found on the internet from Recipeshubs. This picture is far more glamorous than the dish I served up because it has the key ingredient – beef.
I made some changes to the original recipe. I left out the 1/2 cup of celery, 1/2 cup of julienned red bell pepper, and 1/2 cup of julienned green bell pepper. Also, I did not use 2 pounds of sirloin tip or eye of round roast. Tofu is what I used. And I was out of limes so I used a lemon. And did not have any dried galangal so I used fresh ginger. The recipe did not include lettuce but I added some romaine and red leaf.
Cambodian Beef Salad
For the Salad
- 2 lbs sirloin tip or eye of round roast
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce (I used tamari sauce)
- 2 cups julienned cabbage (I cheated and bought a cabbage slaw mix, I really was having an off day)
- 1/2 cup julienned carrots
- 1/2 cup cored, seeded, and julienned red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup cored, seeded, and julienned green bell pepper
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
For the Dressing
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon peeled and crushed garlic
- 1/4 ounce finely minced dried galangal that has been soaked in water for 1 hour
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- Pour the soy sauce over the beef and marinate for fifteen minutes.
- Roast the meet in a 400 degree oven until medium rare or 120 degrees on a meat thermometer.
- Allow the meat to cool.
- In a large bowl mix the cabbage, carrots, celery, peppers, and mint leaves.
- In a small bowl make the dressing by mixing the ingredients together.
- Once the meat has cooled, slice it across the grain in thin slices. Add the beef and the dressing to the vegetables and toss well.
If you are interested in learning more about Cambodia and Cambodian cooking I recommend The Elephant Walk Cookbook by Longteine de Monteiro and Katherine Neustadt. Along with delicious recipes the book includes some history of Cambodia and stories from Longteine de Monteiro of the time spent there from birth until his family left the country.
This dish was wonderful and it left me rooting for the Cambodian Olympians and a desire to learn more about country.