Cambodian Style Coleslaw

When I came across the many variations of coleslaws in the food section of NPR’s website the other day, the “Salade Cambodgienne” captured my attention. The thought of fresh crunchy cabbage in a sweet-sour sauce seemed so satisfying and easy to prepare for our burning hot Texas summer days. This Southeast Asian variation offered a variety of veggies, the nutty texture of peanuts, some heat, and a way to use up my garden carrots and basil. I wasn’t disappointed. In fact it was an overwhelming hit with just a couple additions and modifications.

The Tuk Trey dressing (Tuk Trey means fish juice in Cambodia) contained no fish sauce in this recipe, which was fine by me, since I didn’t have any fresh in the frig, but it was a bit flat for my taste as I poured a bit on a small bit of slaw as a test. I decided to go more American and add a bit of vinegar and mayonnaise to get a more sour and bold flavor. A second sample proved I’d made the right decision. It was downright delicious.

Mint was also left out of the recipe. I didn’t have any and I think it would have overwhelmed the salad along with the basil. I also fudged on the basil, substituting garden variety basil for Asian. I’m not sure if Asian basil has a different taste. I did notice in a photograph that the leaves looked smaller. I also substituted red onion for white to tone down the taste of onion and add color.

I also want to emphasize that you want to add the dressing only when serving. That will keep the rest of the slaw nice and crunchy for future servings, not wilted from the liquid of the dressing.

  • 1 head green cabbage, cut in half and very thinly sliced (a mandolin works well)
  • 1 cup peeled and shredded carrots
  • 1/2 large red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced 1/4-inch thickness
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, roasted and coarsely ground
  • 1/3 cup tuk trey dressing (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • A few dried chili seeds, crushed chilies or thinly sliced fresh

Dressing (Tuk Trey)

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 5 teaspoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • Vinegar to taste
  • Mayonnaise to taste

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil and turn off heat. Add sugar and salt and stir to dissolve completely. Add remaining ingredients except vinegar and mayonnaise and stir to mix well. Let cool completely before dressing salad. Add the vinegar and mayonnaise separately (about 1/4 cup vinegar and 1 tablespoon mayonnaise to 1/4 of the slaw mixture (enough for 2-4 servings). Garnish with more cilantro and crushed peanuts.

If you refuse to turn on your stove until the weather turns more pleasant and cooler, try using honey instead of sugar and skip the heating process. Your may have to use a little less water. The mixture may need to be blended with a whisk or hand mixer.

Click this link for the original recipe and other international cole slaws:

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Iced Herbal Sun Tea Blend

Here’s a throat-cooling, thirst-quenching summer sipping tea that’s good for the road, by your desk, and on your nightstand. I’ve been keeping jars of these in the frig, ready to mix and go lately, as the temperatures starting climbing into the 80s.

Hibiscus and mint are naturals together, the deep red fruity hibiscus complementing the cooling pale yellow mint. I threw lemongrass into the mix out of curiosity. I’d been wanting to grow lemongrass in the garden so I opted to go with my own, instead of buying it bagged.

I bought a small plant and it just took off. Incidently, the leaves give off a strong lemony aroma as they boil in water when you’re preparing a batch on the stove. Anyway, the blend works well with or without lemongrass. But you be the judge.

Pint-size mason jars are a good size for a couple days worth of tea. Go with quart size if you’re a heavy tea drinker.

  • 1 hibiscus tea bag
  • 1 peppermint tea bag
  • 1 lemongrass tea bag or 5 sprigs of fresh lemongrass (optional)
  • 1 pint mason jars
  • Agave nectar to taste (optional)

Plop a tea bag of each into separate jars, put in a sunny window, When the sun goes down, remove the bags and mix together as desired. Add agave nectar for some sweetness if you like. Store remaining tea in frig.

Keep in frig and serve in a mason jar (They’re fun to drink out of) with lots of ice.

How to prepare fresh lemongrass tea

Cut a few sprigs from the plant, cut it down so it fits in your pot. Add to 2 cups of water. Boil gently for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for at least 15 minutes. Drain and discard leaves.

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Banana Strawberry Blender Ice Cream

A cool, sweet summer treat. Banana Strawberry Ice Cream. Just frozen fruit and ice whipped up in a high speed blender.

If you’re like me and don’t care for overripe bananas and don’t feel like feeding the compost bin with an intact uneaten piece of fruit, this is the perfect way to reclaim them.

A word of caution: cut the bananas up in small pieces so your blender doesn’t sound like it’s going into cardiac arrest.

Thanks to a friend who shared a recipe book, where I discovered you didn’t need an ice cream maker to make ice cream.

  •  1 large ripe banana, peeled, chopped
  • 2 strawberries, whole
  • 4 ice cubes
  • Splash of water
  • Agave nectar (optional)

Freeze banana and strawberries for about 12 hours. If you them in the freezer the night before, you’ll have dessert for the next night. Add to Vitamix or other high speed blender, along with ice cubes and a splash of water. Blend until ice is completely blended into fruit. Serve immediately in dessert cups with drizzled agave nectar if desired. Makes 2 servings

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