Angkor Wat

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Angkor Wat in Cambodia
the world's largest religious monument built in the 12th century
now a world heritage site
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Num Banh-Chok Kampot
Coconut Dried Shrimp Noodles

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Kampot Style Noodles

If you like seafood, you should visit Kampot - a coastal province of Cambodia, southwest of the capital Phnom Penh. This dish originated in that region and has become popular nationwide. It is sold as a street snack as well as featuring on most restaurant menus. Traditionally, we eat it as a snack at any time of the day. If you host a Western style dinner party, I recommend serving this as a delicious starter during a hot summer soirée.

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Khmer Fresh Rice Noodles

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Dried Rice Vermicelli

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Chinese Wheat Thread  Noodles

Did you know …

Dried shrimps being rich in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B and magnesium are good for bones and the heart. It is also claimed that eating a lot of shrimps can soothe the nerves and improve appetite. However, those who suffer seafood allergies and from acute skin rash should avoid shrimps.

 

Serves 4 - 5

Ingredients 

Fresh rice noodles1 1 kg (2.2 lb) or 1 x 280g (10 oz) pack of dried rice noodles 
Dried shrimps2250g (9 oz) – use good quality ones 
Coconut cream 250 ml (1 cup) - taken from the top of the tin/carton - or see  (link for making fresh coconut cream)
Unsalted roasted peanuts ½ cup, coarsely crushed 

Vegetables
Bean sprouts
2 handfuls – tailed if time permits
Cucumber 1 – cut into julienne strips
Chi angkarm (mint leaves) 1 cup, separated from stems and washed
Fresh mixed herbs3 2 handfuls (fish wort, Khmer mint/Vietnamese coriander and Thai basil) – separated from the stems and washed 

Dressing
Tik trei pa-em / sweet & sour fish sauce 250g (1 cup) – (recipe)
Shallots 2 - peeled and thinly sliced, for garnishing the dressing

Method

1 - If fresh rice noodles are available, skip this step otherwise prepare the dried noodles according to the package instructions1.

2 - Arrange the noodles together with the vegetables on a large plate, cover and set aside.

3 - Soak the dried shrimps in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain and pound a few at a time in a pestle and mortar (alternatively, use a small food processor) until you obtain a bread crumb consistency. Transfer to a bowl, cover and set aside.

4 - Then, prepare the dressing (see link above) and set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the coconut cream4. Remove from heat as soon as it boils and set aside to cool.

5 - To serve, place some bean sprouts, mixed herbs (or lettuce leaves) and cucumber in an individual serving bowl. Top with noodles and sprinkle with dried shrimp. Drizzle with the coconut cream and dressing to taste. Garnish with the peanuts. And toss well before eating. 

Tips 

1  To my knowledge, fresh rice noodles are only available in Southeast Asian countries. So, you can substitute them with dried rice vermicelli, Japanese somen noodles or Chinese thread noodles. For this dish, remember to soak the dried rice vermicelli for 8-9 minutes as opposed to the 3 minutes as instructed on the packaging (for soaking noodles to be fried). For somen and thread noodles, follow the package instructions. 

  2  Dried shrimps are available at Asian grocery stores.

3  If not available, you can use 2-3 of any lettuce leaves cut crosswise into 1.5 cm (½ inch) strips as a substitute for mixed fresh herbs (see photos). 

4  To give more body to the coconut cream, I normally add ½ tsp of rice flour or corn starch, and stir continuously over the heat until the sauce thickens.