The Muller Menu

11 11 2011

Teriyaki stir fry

Since moving into our new house five weeks ago, we have been adjusting to a new kitchen, a new market, and new standards for our meals. We were happy to leave our training host family and regain some control over what we would be eating for the next two years. Seeing our enormous market for the first time allowed us to let out a sigh of relief, knowing that we would have some variety in our food for the next two years.

Generally speaking, we have been making simple vegetarian stirfries over rice or ramen noodles, keeping at least some semblance of Khmer cooking, without the fermented fish paste or oddly butchered meat. We’ve decided to go mostly meatless here, since it seems difficult to find good meat so far. We didn’t really eat much meat in the States really, so it hasn’t been much of a change. We’ve been supplementing our protein with lots of peanuts, eggs, peanut butter in the morning, and the occasional burger in Siem Reap.

Tried pepper steak last week, the meat was impossible to chew through!

Cooking here has required us to rethink our meals drastically. Most of the difficulty comes from not having a refrigerator. Thankfully, we live close to the market so the twice daily trips are no problem on our way back from school or the health center. Not having a refrigerator also ensures no leftovers, motivating us to chow down while we can, and not lose any food to the shadowy confines of the back of the fridge. I can’t say that we’ve wasted any food here on our own accord, although we have had several losses due to geckos or mice. Another limiting factor on our cooking is that we only have one small butane burner for cooking. That means after boiling the rice we have about 10 minutes to do a quick stirfry before the rice gets cold.

A favorite so far is anything with pineapple. Whole pineapples are about thirty cents at the market so we eat at least two or three a week. A pineapple, green pepper, onion, chilies, and a lot of Kampot pepper over rice is probably our go-to meal. In fact, we have a day for it every week: manoah Mondays (we like alliteration).

Manoah Monday!

So far, sauces have been saving us from a life of monotonous food. We sprung for teriyaki, sweet chili sauce, and Khmer chili sauce in Siem Reap a few weeks back and they have made all the difference. These are what we consider our “imported goods” along with the peanut butter, nutella, oregano, and parmesan cheese. They break the monotony and, with the help of the parmesan, enable us to do “Italian inspired” dishes. I say Italian inspired because it is rare to get anything but rock hard green tomatoes from the market, but something about the cheese and oregano make everything taste completely different from the norm. Besides making some risotto that leaves something to be desired, we’ve also made oven-less bruschetta a few times with rave Katie reviews. It is the “special” dish around here, despite making it without mozzarella or balsamic vinegar.

 

We’ve also tried the occasional curry, lemongrass soup, amok, omelets, mango slaw, and the fan favorite, potato chips.

Cambodia has a lot of varieties of potatoes that make great salty/sweet potato chips.

Mango slaw with mint and peanuts

Omelets and cottage fries with sweet chili sauce

 

Tonight is date night at patea Muller, so I’m off to make another batch of bruschetta. Soon I’ll write about actual Cambodian cuisine and hopefully have lots of pictures of traditional Khmer dishes.

Bruschetta

 

-Tim

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One response

11 11 2011
Sam

Bruschetta! What a fabulous idea. This looks SO good. I want your recipe. Seriously, e-mail it over.

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