Sunday, November 20, 2011

Experimenting with Cambodian condiments

About three months ago I spent a week in Phnom Penh for work. My colleagues and I stayed at a delightful, low key boutique hotel called Villa Langka, and our (very reasonable) room rate included breakfast each day. The breakfast bar featured tiny dishes of what appeared to be a pineapple and passion fruit jam. One taste  and I was hooked! The jam (?) had a real gingery kick, and on our final day I asked the guy who replenished the breakfast bar what was in it. He said the ingredients were pineapple, ginger, passion fruit and green pepper. I felt a bit too shy to ask for more details (e.g. did he mean green capsicum, or green kampot pepper? Was the ginger fresh or preserved? What about the pineapple?) but came back to Canberra determined to try to recreate the condiment here.

My first attempt wasn't so successful. I used 300g of chopped fresh pineapple, 100g of chopped crystallised ginger, and the juice and pulp of two passion fruit, and cooked it in the microwave. It wasn't gingery enough and was too thin. (Still good enough to eat, though!)

My second attempt, today, was much better. Here's the recipe:

440g tinned crushed pineapple, in syrup
300g crystallised ginger, chopped
juice and pulp of 4 passion fruit

Boil all together for 40 minutes, stirring regularly. Pour into sterilised jars and refrigerate.

You can see that I left the 'green pepper' out - I just didn't know what sort to use, or how much, and suspected it wouldn't really matter. So far, so good. This batch is much better than my previous attempt, and looks and tastes a lot like the stuff we ate in Cambodia. Mmmmmm.

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