Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat in Cambodia
the world's largest religious monument built in the 12th century
now a world heritage site
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Nataing Banlè
Paprika Coconut Soya Mince

 Main dish - Nataing Banlae - Paprika Coconut Soya mince - thumbnail

This recipe originates from when rice was cooked in a clay pot, which created a layer of rice crust formed at the bottom of the pot. The crust is not pleasant to eat. So, instead of throwing the crust away, Khmer people would dry it in the sun, break into bite sized pieces, and puff it up in hot oil/fat. They would then top it withPaprika Coconut Minced pork’ . However, some of my vegetarian friends wanted to enjoy it too, so I have modified the recipe into a vegetarian version. This can be served as an appetiser/starter or a snack/light lunch.

Did you know … 

Due to its high content of sodium, soy sauce is not good for people with high blood pressure. However, it is believed that the type of soy sauce, especially the organic type, which is made through a careful traditional fermentation process (takes 18-24 months), is an excellent substitute for salt in all types of cooking. It is healthy and nourishing thanks to the beneficial enzymes, nutrients and vitamins it contains.  

Beware of cheap soy sauce sold at some supermarkets, and served in the majority of restaurants and take-aways. It is reported to be made from genetically modified soybeans through a high-tech chemical process (takes only 2 days). Food experts call it ‘chemical soy sauce’ which could be harmful to your health. 

I recommend using organic soy sauce, though ‘Tamari’ - a Japanese soy sauce, which is made mainly from soya beans (with a touch of wheat) using traditional fermentation methods, is also just as good. These are believed to have strong anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties.




Serves 2-4 (for snack or starter) 


Granose Soya Mince175g/2½ oz – soaked in boiling water for 1 minute and drained (available at supermarkets or healthfood shops)
arlic 4 cloves – peeled and finely chopped
Shallots 4 – peeled and very thinly sliced
Paprika 1½ Tbsp
Vegetable oil2 Tbsp
Tomato purée2 tsp (optional) 

Soy sauce2 Tbsp
Rice/Cider vinegar2 tsp
Salt 1 tsp – or to taste
Palm sugar 2 Tbsp (if not available, use regular granulated sugar)
Vegetable stock powder 2 tsp (use 1 vegetable stock cube as an alternative)
Unsalted roasted peanuts4 Tbsp – coarsely pounded (if not available, use the salted version but omit the 1tsp salt from the ingredient list)
Coconut cream1 x 165ml (5.6 fl. oz) can or ¾ cup 

Crispy rice cake20 or French baguette cut into 1cm/⅓ in discs and grilled (for ease of use, you can use ready-made  thin rice/corn cakes or toasted baguette discs available from supermarkets)
Lime/lemon1 – cut into wedges 


1. Heat the oil in a frying pan or a wok on medium heat until very hot, add the garlic and shallots and stir-fry for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the soya mince, tomato purée, if using, and the paprika and continue to fry until well mixed, about 1 minute (you may need to lower the heat slightly to avoid burning). Add in the soy sauce, vegetable stock, sugar, cider vinegar and salt and mix well - then stir in the coconut cream and peanuts. Bring back to the boil.

2. Turn the heat down to simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened - stir occasionally. To serve, top the crispy rice cakes or toasted slices of French bread with a few teaspoons of the coconut soya mince, squeeze over a few drops of lime juice and enjoy. Some prefer it with mixed vegetable pickle (recipe).


1You can use 200g of fresh tofu  or 'Silken Tofu' instead. Remember to press it (see 'how to') first before mincing.