Welcome to the first in a new series on the blog… ‘Foodie Fridays’! Because well, we want to write more about food and alliteration y’know. Here’s where you’ll find updates on our cooking class adventures, reviews of our favourite eateries and even the odd recipe – starting off with a post all about our cooking class in Siem Reap, Cambodia, way back in 2015.
We didn’t visit Cambodia as part of our current trip but on a rather nice holiday a couple of years ago when we both had the pleasure of full time jobs and a regular income. Intrigued by its fascinating history and the thought of seeing sights like Angkor Wat and the tomb raider temple of Ta Prohm we decided to give it a go.
Our 12 day tour included various activities that were arranged for us, from guided trips to historic sites to the cooking class that we took part in when visiting Siem Reap. Little did we know when we embarked on our trip that we’d fall in love with the cuisine and that our cooking class in Cambodia would be one of the highlights of our holiday. It was this experience that inspired us to try more classes in other countries we visited and led us to set our cooking class challenge.
When I searched on Trip Advisor recently I could only find one Cambodian restaurant in the whole of London, a fact I was staggered by! There are so many Thai and Vietnamese eateries in comparison it feels like Cambodian food has been woefully (and wrongly) neglected. The food in Cambodia is subtly different to that of its neighbours and includes amazingly tasty dishes like Amok Fish curry, Khmer Red curry and Beef Loklak, all of which are full of flavour, made with fresh local ingredients and taste amazing.
Our cooking class in Cambodia was at the Champey Cooking School in Siem Reap which we would fully recommend based on our experience. We were quite a small group and got to cook a three course meal from scratch which we then enjoyed together for lunch.
First up were some rice paper spring rolls – a simple dish which we have made many times since both at home and in subsequent classes we’ve taken. These were perfectly tasty but nothing to necessarily write home about.
The main course though was something else entirely as we got to cook our all time favourite Amok fish curry. This is typically made using catfish and combines coconut and lemongrass flavours for a mild and tasty curry – although you can of course spice it up as many do by adding a couple of red chillies. This took less than 20 minutes to make and tasted incredible!
Our final dish is the one we’ve cooked by far the most often since our Cambodian cooking class – fried bananas in a coconut, honey and passion fruit sauce. It’s really easy and I’ve included a quick recipe below so you can try it at home.
Overall our Cambodian cooking class was excellent – we loved the menu, all of the dishes were simple enough to repeat at home but still interesting to cook, and the teacher was great. The team at Champeys spoke great English and were friendly and welcoming. We also got to take home a little package of ingredients including seasoning and curry pastes as well as a recipe book to help us recreate the dishes we learnt.
Cambodian Fried Banana Recipe
1 x Banana
1/3 Tin Coconut Milk
1 tbs Honey
1 knob of butter
Leave the bananas in their skins and cut in half then cut each half again length ways
Heat the butter in a frying pan on a medium heat until it’s bubbling lightly and add the bananas. Fry them gently until they are golden brown and be careful not to let them stick.
Once your bananas are golden brown add 90% of your coconut milk to the pan, as well as the honey and passionfruit and stir until the sauce starts to thicken
When the sauce is a pale golden colour and is a thicker and slightly syrupy consistency (I’m not great at describing these things!) take out the bananas and set them on a plate and fill a dipping bowl with your sauce. Use the remaining coconut milk to make a little pattern on top of the sauce.
Voila! Remove the bananas from their skins, dip in the sauce and enjoy.