Smithsonian Institution
Join Our Email Mailing List
Festival Radio
Support the Festival

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Cambodian Recipes

Kampot Fish Sauce
Recipe by Narin Jameson

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 red chilies (veins and seeds removed)
  • ½ cup fish sauce
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup of pineapple cut in very small cubes (optional)

Pound the garlic in a mortar, add red chilies, spoon out and place the pounded ingredients in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, mix well, and season to taste. Add pineapple when using the sauce for Kampot noodles.

“Kampot is the name of one of the coastal provinces in the south of Cambodia. During the colonial period, it was the vacation spot for the French. Along the Kampot River, there are many beautiful colonial bungalows and it is a very pleasant route to stroll along. Most people living in the province have Chinese ancestors from Hai Nan; they are the best cooks and best in this sauce, which I learned as a teenager when my house was rented to those Chinese/Cambodians.

In Cambodia most households have a jar of this fish sauce in the refrigerator. It is the base of all our dishes; it is like a magic sauce. If the dish does not taste right you can add this sauce and it becomes tastier. This sauce is a dip for fresh seafood, such as steamed shrimp, crab, or broiled fish.”

— Narin Jameson


Cambodian Cabbage Salad (Serves 6)
Recipe by Narin Jameson

  • ½ lb shredded cabbage
  • 3 oz bean thread soaked in hot water for approximately 20 minutes and drained
  • 1 shredded carrot
  • ½ lb three-layer pork (not too much fat), boiled and sliced thinly
  • ½ lb cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 5 tbsp pounded dried shrimp
  • 5 sprigs peppermint leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 5 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Sauce:
  • 10 tbsp fish sauce
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 10 tbsp lemon juice
  • 10 tbsp ground peanuts
  • Pinch of salt

Mix the sauce ingredients together well and set aside. Prepare the above ingredients and mix all together when ready to serve. Pour the prepared sauce over the other ingredients just before serving, so the cabbage will not become watery.

“This cabbage salad can be made with shrimp, chicken, or three-layer pork belly. It tastes even better if the three-layer pork belly is added with any sort of meat used.”
— Narin Jameson


Fresh-Rolled Pork Delight (Mieng Nem) (Serves 8)
Recipe by Narin Jameson

  • ½ lb ground pork
  • 3 tbsp chopped red onions or shallots, browned in oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped garlic, browned in oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped roasted peanuts
  • 6 tbsp pounded dried shrimp
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp tamarind juice
  • Rice paper
  • Coriander leaves for decoration

Fry the pork without oil until done. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the rice paper and coriander leaves, mix well and cook until dry. Remove from heat. When the mixture is cool enough to work with, wrap the mixture in a piece of softened rice paper like a spring roll and decorate with coriander leaves.

“This roll is one always included in my brothers’ ‘Surprise Party.’ In Cambodia, during school vacations, young teenagers get together at someone’s home for a buffet dinner and dance to the music played by the organizers or by a group of young musicians. During my time, there were few groups of musicians but the most famous one was called Apsara Band. They were inspired by the Beatles and were good. They were dressed like the Beatles, had hair styles like the Beatles, and played the Beatles music as well as their own composed Cambodian pieces, which were very good.”
— Narin Jameson


Neang Mao Keo (A Cambodian dessert)
Recipe by Narin Jameson

  • 12 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 oz black sticky rice soaked and half cooked
  • 8 oz shredded frozen coconut meat

In a pot slowly cook the coconut milk, sugar, and salt. When boiling, add the black sticky rice, stir slowly and constantly until completely dried and the rice is separated. Stop the cooking and transfer the content into a glass bowl and cover with the shredded coconut.



Nam Banh-Chok Kampot (Cambodian Rice Noodles, Kampot Style)
Recipe by Sam-Oeun Tes

  • 1/3 lb dried shrimps, soaked in hot water until soft
  • 1 lb rice noodles, soaked in warm water until soft
  • 4 cups coconut milk, warmed
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 2 cups cucumber, cut the same size as pineapple
  • 2 cups chili, sliced
  • 2 cups ripe pineapple, cut in small chunks
Sauce:
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 2 shallots, sliced thinly

Mix sauce ingredients together. Drain shrimp. Pound shrimp in mortar to coarse texture. Drain and dunk noodles in warmed coconut milk, to coat. Arrange on plate. Add vegetables, chili, pineapple, shrimp on top with some coconut milk and sauce, and the rest as desired. Serve in bowls with noodles.

Click to enlarge

Madam Sam-Ouen Tes