The food that convinced me to take a cooking class was "LokLak," a French inspired Khmer dish. This recipe comes straight from the cookbook I was given by Coconut restaurant. There are quite a few ingredients; however, when done right, it is a phenomenal dish! I've had both beef and chicken LokLak, and I slightly prefer the chicken variation. However, this is all subjective, so use whatever kind of meat you prefer. Makes six servings.
Beef Tenderloin or Chicken (1000 grams)
Cooking Oil (6 Tbs)
Soy Sauce (4 Tbs)
Oyster Sauce (6 Tbs)
Salt (1-1/3 Tbs)
Chicken Powder (2 Tbs)
Sugar (6 Tbs)
Ketchup (6 Tbs)
Pepper Powder (1-1/3 Tbs)
Chili Sauce (6 Tbs)
Lime Juice (3 Tbs)
1 Egg (optional)
1) First, prepare the beef/chicken and sauce. Clean the beef/chicken and cut into cubes. Then add soy sauce, oyster sauce, ketchup, chili sauce, 1/3 of a tablespoon of salt (not all of it!), 1 tablespoon of chicken powder (not all of it!), 3 tablespoons of sugar (not all of it!), and 1/3 of a tablespoon of pepper powder (not all of it!). Mix it all together with the beef/chicken, and stir for 5 minutes.
2) Fry it with the oil and chopped garlic in a pan.
3) Make the LolLak sauce. Mix the lime juice, and remaining salt, pepper powder, sugar, and chicken powder together.
4) Prepare vegetables and steamed rice (read step #5).
5) Serve it like in the picture above: Beef/chicken and sauce on one plate, garnished with vegetables. Steamed rice on another. LokLak sauce in a small, separate dish. I'd highly recommend frying an egg and putting it on top. It's aesthetically pleasing, and tastes delicious!
So there you have it, a great recipe for LokLak! Enjoy.
I'll be completely honest, I rarely cook back in the United States. Every time the idea pops into my head, I think about how it would be much easier to just buy some pizza instead. While I doubt my habits will change all that much when I return to the US, I do now have the confidence that I could make a killer Pad Thai if I'd like. It takes about 10-15 minutes, and is totally worth the time.
My guesthouse owner, Jane, showed us how to cook Pad Thai. I won't mention specific measurements of ingredients, because nobody measures here. You can experiment with different flavors and amounts; it's extremely difficult to mess this recipe up.
Chopped peanuts (optional)
1) Let the rice noodles soak in water for a few minutes. You can begin chopping the vegetables in the meantime.
2) In a large pan, fry some oil. Add chopped onions, garlic, cabbage, basil, and radish. Fry for a bit. You can substitute/add other vegetables if you’d like.
3) Add one egg per serving (i.e. if three people are eating, use three eggs). Let it (them) fry, but don’t mix it into the vegetables yet.
4) Add a little water into the pan (to prevent burning), then mix the egg and vegetables together.
5) Add the pre-soaked rice noodles and oyster sauce. Stir continuously, allowing the noodles to cook. You can substitute other sauces for the oyster sauce if you’d like.
6) Finally, add in some chili powder, and mix it into the Pad Thai. Use more if you want it spicier, and less if you want it milder.
7) Turn off the flame. Put Pad Thai onto plates. Garnish with chopped peanuts and more chilies if you’d like.
This recipe was for delicious vegetarian Pad Thai. If you'd like, you can cook it with almost anything: Chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, tofu, etc.
If you make this dish, feel free to post pictures of your creation!
My name is Yonah Paley. I quit my job in the United States to travel. I also write music and do photography. As I backpack across the world, I share stories, philosophy, and travel tips.