Tasty Congee In Cambodia
Cambodian cuisine is a delightful tapestry of flavors influenced by neighboring countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam, yet it retains its unique identity. One dish that showcases this culinary diversity is Congee.
Congee, also known as "borbor" in Cambodia, is a popular breakfast dish and comfort food in Cambodian cuisine.
There are several variations of congee in Cambodia, and the ingredients and flavors can vary from region to region based on personal preferences. In this article, we'll explore the different types of Cambodian congee, how to cook them, and where to find and savor the best ones.
Chicken Rice Congee (Borbor Sach Mouan)
Borbor Sach Mouan is a Cambodian dish also known as ‘Chicken Rice Porridge’. It's a comforting and popular dish in Cambodian cuisine. Borbor refers to the rice porridge, and Sach Mouan translates to chicken.
Chicken Rice Congee
Traditionally, Borbor Sach Mouan is made by simmering rice in a flavorful chicken broth until it becomes a thick and creamy porridge. The rice is often cooked with ginger, garlic, and other aromatic spices to enhance the flavor. Chicken pieces are added to the porridge and cooked until tender and infused with the broth's taste.
Chicken: A tender, succulent protein that infuses the congee with a rich and savory flavor.
Rice: Short-grain rice, often jasmine rice, is the main ingredient for the porridge. The rice is cooked in the chicken broth until it breaks down and creates a creamy consistency.
Ginger: Fresh ginger is usually grated, adding a subtle warmth and aroma to the porridge.
Garlic: Garlic cloves are minced or crushed to release their aromatic qualities. They contribute a savory note to the porridge.
Garnishes: Common garnishes include thinly sliced green onions, fresh cilantro leaves, fried garlic, and sometimes soy sauce or fish sauce.
Chicken broth: A flavorful chicken broth forms the base of the porridge. It can be made by simmering chicken bones, onion, garlic, and other aromatics in water.
How to Cook
Step 1: Prepare the ingredients
Begin by rinsing the rice thoroughly under cold running water. In a pot, add the chicken, ginger slices, and water or chicken broth. Bring it to a boil over high heat.
Step 2: Simmer
Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 20 - 25 minutes. This will allow the chicken to cook through and infuse the broth with flavor.
Step 3: Shred the Chicken
Remove the chicken from the pot and shred it into bite-sized pieces, discarding any bones or skin. Set the shredded chicken aside.
Step 4: Cook the Rice
Add the rinsed rice to the same pot with the chicken broth. Stir well and let it simmer on low heat, partially covered, for about 30 - 40 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Step 5: Season and add the shredded chicken
Add minced garlic to the pot and continue to simmer until the rice thickens into a creamy porridge-like consistency. Then, add the shredded chicken back into the pot and season with fish sauce to taste. Ladle the congee into bowls, garnish with chopped scallions, and serve hot.
Chicken Rice Congee Cooking Steps
Fish Porridge (Borbor Kreung)
"Borbor Kreung" is a traditional Cambodian dish also known as Cambodian Fish Porridge. It is a flavorful and comforting rice porridge made with fish as the main ingredient.
The combination of fish, rice, aromatic ingredients, and garnishes creates a delicious and comforting fish porridge that is enjoyed in Cambodian cuisine.
Rice: Short-grain rice, often jasmine rice, is the primary ingredient for the porridge. The rice is cooked in water or fish broth until it breaks down and creates a creamy consistency.
Fish: Fresh fish, such as catfish or snakehead fish, is commonly used in Borbor Kreung. The fish is typically deboned, cut into pieces, and cooked in the porridge.
Fish sauce: Fish sauce is a staple ingredient in Cambodian cuisine and adds a savory umami taste to the porridge. It is typically added during cooking or served as a condiment for individual preference.
Garlic & Ginger: To infuse the congee with aromatic notes
Lemongrass: Is commonly used in Cambodian cuisine for its aromatic and citrusy flavor. They are typically bruised to release their fragrance and added to the porridge for a subtle but distinctive taste.
Garnishes: Common garnishes include sliced green onions, fresh cilantro leaves, fried garlic, sliced chilies, and lime wedges.
How to Cook:
Step 1: Rinse and Prepare Rice
Rinse the Jasmine rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Set it aside.
Step 2: Cook Rice
In a large pot, bring the water or fish broth to a boil. Add the rice, lemongrass, and minced garlic to the boiling water. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice breaks down and turns into a creamy porridge consistency.
Step 3: Season with Fish Sauce
Add the fish fillets to the porridge and continue simmering for another 10 - 15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. Stir in the fish sauce to taste.
Step 4: Garnish, add toppings and serve
Once the rice is soft and creamy, ladle the Borbor Kreung into bowls. Top the bowls with fried shallots and a drizzle of sesame oil for extra flavor.
Fish Porridge Cooking Steps
Pork Rice Congee (Bor Baw Sach Chrouk)
Pork Rice Congee, also known as "Bor Baw Sach Chrouk" in Cambodian cuisine, is a comforting and flavorful rice porridge made with pork as the main ingredient. It is a popular dish enjoyed for breakfast, or as a light meal.
Pork Rice Congee
Pork: Ground pork is the star ingredient in Bor Baw Sach Chrouk. It adds a savory flavor and protein to the porridge.
Rice: Jasmine rice is the preferred type of rice for making the porridge. Its soft and slightly sticky texture helps create a creamy consistency as it cooks down.
Pork Broth: The base of the porridge is typically made of flavorful pork broth. Pork broth adds an extra layer of richness to the dish.
Garlic: Garlic cloves are minced or crushed. They contribute a savory note and enhance the overall flavor of the porridge.
Soy Sauce: Soy sauce adds a rich and savory flavor to the porridge. It complements the pork and other seasonings.
How to Cook:
Step 1: Rinse and Prepare Rice
Begin by rinsing rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This helps remove excess starch and ensures a smoother congee texture. Set the rinsed rice aside.
Step 2: Combine Ingredients
In a large pot, combine the rinsed rice, thinly sliced or ground pork, minced garlic, ginger slice, and chicken or pork broth. Stir to mix everything together.
Step 3: Simmer
Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 30 - 40 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Step 4: Season with Soy Sauce /Fish Sauce
After the rice has broken down and thickened, season the congee with fish sauce to taste. Start with a small amount and adjust according to your preference. Fish sauce adds saltiness and depth of flavor to the congee.
Step 5: Garnish and Serve
Ladle the hot Cambodian Pork Congee into serving bowls. If desired, garnish each bowl with fresh herbs like cilantro and mint for added freshness and aroma. Serve the congee hot and enjoy!
Pork Rice Congee Cooking Steps
Best Places to Eat Congee in Cambodia
- Address: #74, Street 174, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Working hours: Daily from 11:00 - 23:00
- Price Range: US $5 - 15 per dish
Located on Street 174 in Phnom Penh, Romdeng Phnom Penh occupies a charming French colonial building and offers a diverse selection of genuine Khmer dishes, along with the opportunity to purchase distinctive handicrafts to bring back home. The peaceful garden setting and attentive service make it a must-visit.
Malis (Siem Reap)
- Address: Pokambor Avenue, Near Wat Preah Prom Rath, Siem Reap
- Working hours: 06:30 - 23:00
- Price Range: US $5 - 40 per dish
The restaurant was founded in 2004 by Master Chef Luu Meng and his team with the aim of restoring Cambodian cuisine to its former glory and putting Cambodia back on the map as a culinary destination. It offers a variety of Asian and Cambodian cuisines, including vegetarian-friendly, vegan options, and gluten-free options. Some of the signature dishes include Samlor machou kroeung sach ko, sausages, and gnom svay.
Khmer Kitchen Restaurant
- Address: Corner of 2 Thnou Street & Street 9, Old Market, Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Working hours: 09:00 - 23:00
- Price Range: US $3 - 5 per dish
Khmer Kitchen Restaurant is a local gem known for its authentic Cambodian cuisine. The menu includes vegetarian-friendly options as well. Their Rice Porridge with Pork is a comforting dish that captures the essence of Cambodian flavors. The restaurant has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor with over 4,500 reviews.
In Cambodia, Congee is more than just a meal; it's a culinary journey through the country's rich history and diverse flavors. Whether you choose the chicken, vegetable, or pork variety, each version of Congee offers a unique taste of Cambodia that's sure to leave you craving for more.
So, the next time you find yourself in Cambodia, don't miss the opportunity to savor these delicious and comforting bowls of Congee at some of the country's finest restaurants!
Image source: Internet