This section of JimmyEatsWorld is dedicated to those want to be creative with their meals without breaking the bank. Those who want to get the most out of the limited ingredients available when on the road, on a budget or faced with a limited choice such as being gluten free.
This weeks guest recipe post is by Madz from Jurkturtle who gives us an insight into cooking in Cambodia and offers an Eastern gluten free spin on a Western favourite – Pizza!. Having previously lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Madz currently calls Cambodia home where she is volunteering with an NGO. When not cooking, she’s either eating Cambodian street food or playing with her three young kittens.
I am lucky enough to call home Phnom Penh, Cambodia (for now anyway). Phnom Penh is a thriving, exciting, interesting and controversial city. Living here is wonderful and I am blessed to have a great group of friends and really enjoy the weather (hot, warm, steamy and hot), the people (generous, kind, compassionate), the food (varied, exciting and surprising) and the lifestyle (relaxed, chilled, interesting). The apartment that I live in is directly across the road from a small local market that is thriving from early morning but finishes up around lunchtime. The market offers fresh fruit and vegetables, meats of all kinds, freshly made noodles, dry goods like spices and beans plus hairdressers, fortune tellers and phone stalls. It’s a fun spot to wander around and I’ve been getting to know the vendors and practicing my Khmer (Cambodian Language) every day.
Most kitchens in Cambodian apartments and houses consist of a gas bottle and a burner that has low and high. These stoves are perfect for frying things, quickly cooking up a storm but are not so great for low or slow cooking. For that sort of cooking, the coal cooker comes in handy and many homes have both. The oven is nearly non-existent with the exception of “barang” (westerner) homes who probably put them in before they realized that having an oven when the climate is totally not suited to cooking anything in an oven. Who honestly wants to bake a roast dinner when its 30+ degrees with over 70% humidity?!
Because I love experimenting in the kitchen, I decided to have a go at making something a bit “bread-like” to satiate my craving for something bready. Not eating wheat/grains (except rice) has its benefits, but it is also restrictive in a country like Cambodia where gluten-free options are limited. Mick and I went to a restaurant that served up a rice-flour pancake/pizza called “chatamari” which I found out is Nepalese. It was crispy, dense and absolutely delicious and considering it was made in a local kitchen, I thought I would give it a go! Ingredients: 1 egg 2tsp salt 2/3 cup rice flour 1/4 cup tapioca starch/tapioca flour Ghee (or vegetable oil) Beat the egg and then mix through the salt and flour, adding a little flour at a time. You are aiming to make a cake-like batter. Add a bit of water if required or more rice flour as required. d. Heat the ghee (or oil) in a frypan on medium and pour some of the batter in, making a pancake-sized base. Turn the heat to low and place a lid over the pancake and cook for approximately 2 minutes, making sure it doesn’t burn. Take the lid off and quickly put on the toppings with a quick grate of cheese if you like. Put the lid back on and cook until the cheese is melted. Slide off onto a pan and serve! The toppings you can put on this dish are only limited to your imagination. We made a few different versions such as:
- Shredded ham and cheese with an egg cracked in the middle. Mick said this tasted like an egg and bacon muffin!
- Leftover curry with some added shallots and a small amount of cheese.
- Stewed apple topped with some greek yoghurt and honey – great dessert pizza!
- Minced garlic, leftover pork and cheese
- Smear of tomato paste, ham, olives, mushroom and cheese.
The beauty of this dish is you can add any flavor you like and its quick and cheap. You can go all out and make it a gourmet dish with seafood or blue cheese or scrape together what you can or even have it plain. Got some leftover bbq meat – chuck it on! Mexican meat sauce? Go for gold. Garlic? Make some garlic pizza. Banana? Make it a sweet one. The ingredients are readily available and cheap. A bag of rice flour costs less than a dollar, and so does tapioca starch. If you can’t find the tapioca, just make it with the rice flour. As I don’t eat wheat, I haven’t experimented with wheat-flour but I reckon it would be pretty tasty too.
I am looking for contributors who can share their own recipe ideas on how to create the tastiest meals. Whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacking, in the bush or what to do with leftover food.