Savory crepes - or the Cambodian "omlette!"
Aneri's note: I personally think Cambodia has the best food in southeast Asia. Their cuisine isn’t as well-known as their Thai and Vietnamese neighbors, which is a real shame because it’s so amazing. The two main ingredients in Cambodian food is garlic and ginger. So obvi, I’m obsessed. I visited Cambodia a few years ago and was thrilled by the plethora of inexpensive and delicious vegan food available everywhere. I also loved how kind the people are and how ancient culture is embedded throughout the country.
Angkor Wat is an amazing experience- trees actually grow out of these ancient temple structures! I cycled a total of 22 miles around the entire Angkor Wat Archeological Park! But I also got heat stroke as as result so I don't recommend doing that.
Chamkar doesn’t have a website, but it’s hands down one of the best vegan restaurants I’ve ever been to in the world. Located on pub street in the touristy part of Siem Riep, I can't even begin to explain how delicious this food is. The pumpkin dish and stuffed tofu with caramelized onions and sauteed garlic were the best Asian dishes I have ever eaten.
Phnom Penh is really a cute little city. It’s pretty chill, with tuk tuks and motorcyclists everywhere. The temples are simply stunning and has lots of open air cafes.
Cambodians are also very sweet and kind people. I felt tall there and I'm only 5 foot 3!
I can't end my my post on Cambodia without referring to its tragic past where nearly one-fourth of its population was terminated only in the '70s. I visited the Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh, where hundreds were executed for no reason. Many were women and children were killed, and even some foreigners accused of being spies. It's sobering to think of how far Cambodia has come with such a recent genocide that took place when my parents were my age.
Difficulty (1-10): 7
Banh Shao is popular in both Cambodia and Vietnam. It’s typically served with a meat filling, but I’ve read online it’s possible to find it without meat. So here’s the best adaptation I could find! Think of it as a vegan omlette by making a turmeric rice crepe with yummy filling!
Rice flour - 3/4 cup
Cornstarch - 1 TB
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Coconut milk - 1/2 cup
Coconut oil - 1 TB
Water - 1/2 cup
Green onion - 3 stalks, chopped
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Split mung beans - 1/3 cup, cooked
Mushrooms - variety (shiitake, Cremini, etc)
Carrot - small strips
Shallot - 1, minced
Soy sauce - 1 TB
Garlic - 1 clove, minced
Mint - bunch
Cilantro, - bunch, chopped
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the white rice flour, cornstarch, salt, and turmeric. Add the coconut milk and mix using a spoon, add the water and whisk until you get a very thin batter. Add the chopped green onions and whisk again. Cover and set aside. Let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
2. Heat coconut oil in a no-stick pan and add the mushrooms, garlic, and shallot. Fry for about on medium-high heat until the mushrooms are just starting to lose their water. Add 1 tbsp soy sauce and stir well. Add carrot and bean sprouts for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a little bowl.
3. Add a ladle of dough to the hot pan and swirl the pan immediately so the batter is evenly spread. Add more batter if it wasn't enough to cover the pan.
4. Sprinkle 1 tbsp carrot, mushroom and bean sprouts on one-half of the crepes and cover the pan with a lid. After a minute lift the lid and carefully check the color of the bottom side of the crepe using a rubber spatula. If the bottom is crispy and golden, it's time to sprinkle the fresh herbs on the filling and to fold the crepe over to enclose.
5. Keep the crepes warm in a preheated oven while you repeat the whole process with the remaining ingredients.
6. Serve the crepes with condiments of your choice
Like this recipe? Check out other dishes from Southeast Asia here!