Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Corruption Recipe: Cambodian Rice-Vermicelli Soup

Num Ba Chok (the kosher and vegetarian versions)

4 quarts broth
2 pounds fillets of mild white fish
-or: 2 pounds pressed firm tofu
2 stalks lemon grass
5 strips krachai
1/2 t ground turmeric
1 clove garlic
6-10 dried anchovies
-or: 1 T fake chicken soup powder
-or: 2 t-2 T prahok
1 T sugar

If using tofu, slice and sautee with soy sauce and sesame oil until browned. Simmer fish or tofu in broth 5 minutes. Pound all remaining ingredients into a paste in mortar and pestle; add to broth. Simmer 5-10 more minutes.


2 T oil
1 clove garlic
1 T crushed red pepper, or to taste
8 oz roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
-or: 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
7 oz coconut milk
1 rehydrated dried anchovy, smushed
5 T sugar
1 T tamarind concentrate

Chop garlic coarsely. Saute in oil, with pepper, until garlic is golden. Add rest of ingredients; cook until flavors are blended (10-20 minutes).


28 oz thin rice noodles (vermicelli)
1/2 pound green beans
1 green (unripe) papaya
4 oz fresh bean sprouts
2 small cucumbers
Banana blossoms
(Thai plum leaves)

Boil water. Put in noodles and cook until barely done, 2-3 minutes. Rinse in cold water and set aside.

Snap off ends, then blanch green beans. Peel papaya and cucumber and slice into paper-thin one-inch strips. Blanch banana blossoms if fresh; rinse if canned; quarter. Put each vegetable into a separate bowl.

Into a deep bowl, place a handful of vermicelli; cover with broth. Add a spoonful of the sauce and serve. Each diner will add their own vegetables. Enjoy!

All of these ingredients should be available at Chinese and Asian markets. If you cannot find a green papaya, an unripe mango is also excellent. Banana blossoms come canned, as does krachai; look carefully, since they will likely be labeled in Thai.