Monday, January 24, 2011

Sous-chef, Khmer-style

Many people at Honour Village work seven days a week, which can get exhausting, so Sue has insisted that the Cambodian staff take a day off once a week to rest.  We were asked to come in on their day off (Sunday) to help prepare the noon meal, and jumped at the chance to experience something different.... and spend more time with the kids, of course.

To gear up for Sunday, I hung around the kitchen on Saturday to pick up a few pointers.  It's nowhere near the cooking we do back home.  Think camping, but on a much bigger scale.  All preparation is done outdoors and food is cooked over an open fire.  When you add up kids and staff they're feeding about 50, and most of the kids eat way more than the adults.  I've seen some of these 4 year olds pack away 4 huge bowls of rice & vegetables for lunch, which confirms the legend of the hollow leg.

Take a look at these pics to see how much food they prepare.  Especially note the amount of rice.
Me and Thai preparing a whack of morning glory

Preparing the herbs

The meat is cut into bite-sized pieces with a very sharp cleaver

Rinsing the herbs, vegetables and rice.
The bowl of rice, far right, is uncooked, so will at least double in size

The uncooked rice goes into the boiling pot, over a wood fire

The fragrant herb & spice mix is ground in a huge pestle

By Sunday I was a real pro, peeling  and chopping wintermelon.  O.B. Happy wasn't about to miss the action, and climbed up on my shoulder to get a 'cat's-eye-view'.
O.B. Happy supervising my culinary skills

Jill and Moira helped prepare the other vegetables, and joked around as usual.
The three musketeers, sabres in hand.  Touchee!

Dom, one of the English teachers, chopped the pork ribs, tended the soup, and cooked the rice.  We ate a hearty meal of mixed vegetable soup and rice.  Yummmm!!

Dom.  Chef for the day.

Working on a 3rd helping

More please!

Full house

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