Cambodian inspired Lemongrass and Lime Fish Larb

Lemongrass and Lime Fish Salad

Raffles loves a good obsession and his latest is with Cambodia, a country that Mr Eats World and I explored pre-parenthood when we were still spry and wrinkle-free. Interestingly, and until now unbeknownst to my adventurous boy, I’m still more than a little obsessed myself.

My own fascination harks all the way back to my childhood (no, not to when they were still building Angkor Wat – though there are days when I do feel a few millennia old).  During the 1970’s, Cambodia was in the news for all the wrong reasons, with civil war, poverty and the unspeakable brutality of Pol Pot’s genocidal regime ravaging the country.

Fascinated by Cambodia and its resilience,  I began reading book after book on its history, and as the country slowly recovered from its horrendous past, sponsored a couple of children (who I was lucky enough to later visit) through a small and now defunct NGO. I was worried that I’d built it up so much in my mind that I would be disappointed if I ever made it there, but instead I fell head over heels in love with the country. Indeed, it is one of the few countries I’ve explored that has exceeded my expectations in every single way and my affection and connection to it’s culture and its people still runs very deep.

Angkor Thom, CAmbodia

So you could say I’m kinda happy with my son’s new found interest. We’ve been chatting at length about this incredibly beautiful and special place and how its warm and resilient people stole my heart.

Mekong River CAmbodia

Raffles curiosity has seen him ask many questions, read some of my old books (at least the ones not focusing on its more brutal history), and pore over my photo albums again and again. Though that may have as much to do with the fact that he’s fascinated by the unwrinkled young thing masquerading as his mother in the pics.

In my happy place at Banteay Srei, Siem Reap

We’ve discussed its history – both recent and ancient. We’ve talked tuktuks, Tomb Raider and temples. And now, he’s desperate to see them all for himself.

a Prohm made famous as a location in the film Tomb Raider.

As is inevitable when it comes to my wee walking, talking stomach, conversation also turned to food which led to Mama Eats World being sent to the kitchen to whip up something Cambodian-ish!

I’m a little short on Cambodian recipes. The country had only recently opened up to travellers when we were there and there was very little in print in English. Given my grasp of Khmer is right up there with my understanding of Hieroglyphics and the Enigma Code, recipe books were off the souvenir list. So on this occasion I decided to wing it by simply using the ingredients and flavours I remember most from our travels.

Along with market treats and the amazing amok (coconutty curry steam-cooked in banana leaves) one of my favourite dishes in steamy Cambodia was the fresh and fragrant salad known as larb – variations of which are also popular in neighbouring Thailand and Laos.

Given that we’ve also been hankering for a little seafood, I decided to toss some fragrant herbs, citrus and nuts together with a little steamed fish to come up with this Lemongrass and Lime Fish Larb, inspired by the tastes of our Cambodian travels.

Whether my Lemongrass and Lime Fish Larb recipe is even remotely authentic or not, I can assure you that it reminds me of a special time and place and makes for a perfect summer dinner.

Cambodian inspired Lemongrass and Lime Fish Larb

Cambodian inspired Lemongrass and Lime Fish Larb

Ingredients

  • 400 g skinless snapper fillets
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 sticks lemongrass, bruised and finely sliced
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, cut into fine slivers
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 4 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 ½ tbsp. palm sugar
  • 2 Birdseye chillis, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 1 cup of Coriander leaves
  • 1 cup of Thai Basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves (torn)
  • Crispy shallots (you can buy these at Asian grocery stores or make your own)
  • 1/4 cup of roasted crushed peanuts
  • Lettuce leaves (to serve)

Instructions

  1. Steam fish in a bamboo steamer for about 8 minutes, then sit aside to cool.
  2. Heat oil in a wok and fry lemongrass and lime until fragrant, then set aside on kitchen paper to drain.
  3. Fry the garlic in the same oil until just golden then set aside.
  4. Mix the lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar in a bowl to make a dressing
  5. Flake cooled fish.
  6. Mix all ingredients carefully in a bowl.
  7. Top with dressing and extra crushed peanuts.
  8. Serve with rice and/or scooped up in lettuce leaves.
http://boyeatsworld.com.au/2016/01/22/cambodia-inspired-lemongrass-and-lime-fish-larb/

11 Comments on Cambodian inspired Lemongrass and Lime Fish Larb

  1. Lydia C. Lee
    January 22, 2016 at 8:50 am (2 years ago)

    I absolutely feel in love with Siem Reap – the people and the attitude being the main thing (the glorious temples and funky bars being an added bonus). I loved that there was a vibe of no one needing to be left behind. Everywhere we went and dined had a charity arm, the souvenirs in the markets all helped women escape domestic violence or children in poverty – it’s a magic place, and the whole world could learn a lot from that country. Larb looks fab!

    Reply
    • BOYEATSWORLD
      January 24, 2016 at 7:19 pm (2 years ago)

      I couldn’t agree more Lydia. We could learn a lot from Cambodia’s amazing people

      Reply
  2. Annie
    January 22, 2016 at 10:31 am (2 years ago)

    It sounds like you need to go back to Cambodia with your boy – the larb looks yummy

    Reply
    • BOYEATSWORLD
      January 24, 2016 at 7:20 pm (2 years ago)

      It is and I think I do, Annie!

      Reply
  3. Alicia-OneMotherHen
    January 22, 2016 at 10:49 pm (2 years ago)

    Yum, that sounds delicious. I have some left over baked flathead in the fridge too!

    Reply
    • BOYEATSWORLD
      January 24, 2016 at 7:21 pm (2 years ago)

      Let me know how it turns out! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Kylie Purtell
    January 23, 2016 at 6:34 pm (2 years ago)

    That sounds so good! I would love to visit Cambodia.

    Reply
    • BOYEATSWORLD
      January 24, 2016 at 7:22 pm (2 years ago)

      It’s delish and Cambodia is magical!

      Reply
  5. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    January 25, 2016 at 10:35 pm (2 years ago)

    I had no idea that you loved Cambodia so much Aleney! That dish looks divine-you know I really haven’t had much Cambodian food at all come to think of it!

    Reply
    • BOYEATSWORLD
      January 26, 2016 at 5:28 pm (2 years ago)

      Yep, I can’t get enough. Cambodian food is lovely, lovely!

      Reply
  6. Susan Trani
    March 8, 2017 at 11:39 am (7 months ago)

    This looks amazing! I think this will be on the menu for tonight.

    Reply

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