My Favorite Cambodian Stew

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Growing up, I really didn’t know how good I had it.  My mom made dinner every night – and I’m not talking about just heating something up in the microwave.  She made a real meal.  With fresh foods.  From scratch.  Instead of being thankful for that, I would wish we could eat Hamburger Helper.  Luckily, that wish never came true and I’m proud to say I’ve never had it.  Now that I no longer live with my mom, I don’t eat as much Cambodian food as I used to and sometimes (a lot of times) I miss it like crazy.  I’ve learned to make a few dishes and one of my favorites is a sweet and sour seafood stew.  It’s also one of my husband’s favorite dishes and he’s been dropping hints lately that it’s been a while since we had it.  When I told him the other day that I was planning on making it for dinner that night, he got so excited that you would’ve thought I had told him we had won the lottery!

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Cambodian Sweet & Sour Seafood Stew

Ingredients:

– 4 tomatoes

– 2lbs green papaya

– 15 oz jar of lotus roots

– Chinese okra

– 1 pineapple

– 3 green onions

– culantre (Asian cilantro)

– 1lbs raw shrimp

– 2 chicken breasts

– king crab legs (however many you want)

– chicken stock

– fried garlic

– salt & pepper to taste

– fish sauce

– package of tamarind soup base

– sugar

Directions:

– pour chicken stock into large pot and top off with water so that the pot is 3/4 full

– bring to a boil and add chicken (chicken should be cut into cubes)

– let chicken boil for a few minutes and add cubed papaya and the lotus roots (cut in half)

– cook until papaya is soft

– add the shrimp

– add in a ladle full or two (to taste) of fish sauce

– add 1/2 tsp of salt

– add crab (I like to take the crab meat from the shell), Chinese okra, pineapple

– bring back to a boil

– add in tomatoes

– add tamarind soup base

– add 1 – 2 tbsp. of fried garlic

– add 1 tbsp. of sugar

– add green onions and culantre

**taste broth – may need to add more fish sauce or sugar

It’s a lot of ingredients and prep work, but the cooking time is pretty quick.  Plus it makes so much, you’ll have delicious leftovers for days – unless you’re inviting people over to share it with (who will LOVE you).  Like most Cambodian dishes, this stew is eaten with rice.  Although not necessary, I like to eat this with a dipping sauce that is a little sour, a little salty and very spicy.  It’s super simple to make and I enjoy it with almost anything: fish, steak, chicken, etc.

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Spicy/salty/sour sauce

Ingredients:

– lime

– fish sauce

– 2 or 3 Thai chilies

– 2 small or 1 large head of garlic

– 2 or 3 pieces culantre or cilantro

Directions:

– juice limes

– mince garlic

– chop up chilies

– chop culantre

– mix above ingredients

– add fish sauce slowly – taste test as you go

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