Sunday, August 8, 2010

Nary's Kitchen : Cooking Class in Battambang

After getting off the boat we found our hotel (which is another story in itself), got some food and went searching for a cooking class. We had read about some people who had taken cooking classes here in Battambang and it seemed perfect for us. My boyfriend was really excited about it since he loves to cook. We first went to the Smokin' Pot cooking school, and at the time they already had 5 people signed up for the class. We were hoping for something a little more personal, so we thought we'd check out Nary's Kitchen, which was advertised in the free guide book we picked up in Siem Reap.

We met a gentleman out front who explained to us all about the class (and how, in his opinion, it was better than the Smokin' Pot). We were interested, but when he told us we were the only ones to sign up so far for the next day's class, we were sold. $7 per person and he gave us a pack of recipes to choose what we wanted to cook. We chose Amok (famous Khmer dish), green curry and fried spring rolls. I guess that's the menu everyone picks, though they have much larger selection of dishes to choose from.

The next morning at 8:30 we arrived for the class. He took us to the market and showed us all the ingredients that we needed to make our three dishes.

He bought a fresh fish that was still flopping around in its basket when the vendor chopped its head off for us and removed the unwanted parts.

Then we brought everything back to the kitchen to get to work

They laid out everything so we could remember the ingredients for later. Things like garlic are easy to get in Korea. That green onion looking thing is actually lemon grass, not so common here. Same with those leaves. No way I'm ever gona find anything like that in this country...

First we made the paste for the amok and green curry. We learned that neither amok, nor green curry are true curries at all. Though they have similar ingredients, they are both lacking in curry powder, which makes something a real curry. We took all these ingredients and ground them with a mortar and pestle for about 10 minutes until we had a well ground paste. The only difference between the paste for the amok and green curry was just some dried red pepper that we added to the paste.

Here Nary is showing us how to make our green curry.

Finally we finished everything. Green curry in the middle, fried spring rolls on the sides and amok wrapped in green leaves. It was such a huge meal that we didn't eat again until late that night!

Here's our interpreter for the class. He was a great guy who set us up with a motorbike that afternoon to go around in, and got us a tuk-tuk for the next day for a countryside tour. If you're not sure what to do in Battambang, go see this guy. He'll figure out something great for you to do!

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