Cambodian Vegetarian Stew

by on October 27, 2006
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I don’t remember exactly what it was that got me searching for Cambodian recipes–some restaurant menu I saw on the internet for a dish that looked good. I no longer remember anything about that recipe, but while I was searching for information that might help me recreate it, I stumbled upon this recipe and made a note of it because I knew that I was about to have to cut open the Blue Hubbard squash that has been sitting on my front porch since I bought it. Winter squash keep a long time, but they won’t last forever, and I knew that time was running out for my little porch decoration.

So I got out the big knife a few nights ago and butchered the fatted squash. “Butchered” is the appropriate word because my big knife, a santoku chef’s knife, is not the best choice for cutting open a hard winter squash; it doesn’t have a pointy tip, so getting it into the squash is tricky. But I finally managed to cut the squash into two very jagged, unequal pieces. I took one piece and steamed it to use in pureed dishes, like pie or wontons or soup, and used part of the other half to make the following dish.

I wish I could say that this stew was a huge hit, but in fact it was just sort of blah. D. and I thought it was okay, but a little too sweet (although I cut the sugar down from the original, it would probably be better to leave it out altogether). E. didn’t like it at all, so we took pity on her after she tried several bites and made her something else to eat.

Therefore, I present this to you as a recipe to be tinkered with. Perhaps you’ll find the right combination of seasonings to perk it up.

Cambodian Stew

Cambodian Vegetarian Stew

2 tsp. chopped galanga root or ginger (I used frozen galanga)
1 Kaffir lime leaf
1 tsp. dried lemon grass (or use 1 tbsp. chopped fresh)
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. paprika (I used Spanish smoked paprika)
1 cup coconut milk (or use soymilk plus coconut extract)
2 cups water
1 eggplant, cut into cubes
2 cups fresh hubbard squash or pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
1/2 lb. fresh spinach, chopped
1 tbsp. vegetarian mushroom or stir-fry sauce
1 tsp. sugar, optional
1 tsp. salt, optional

Put the first five ingredients along with the coconut milk and water into the blender, and puree well. Put the eggplant into a large pot, pour the coconut milk mixture over it, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the squash/pumpkin, cover and cook until the pumpkin is tender (about 15 minutes).

Add the spinach and remaining ingredients and cook just until the spinach is bright green and wilted. Serve over brown rice. Makes about 3 servings.

Adapted from AsiaRecipe

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 FatFreeVeganFan November 23, 2010 at 8:12 pm

It’s so beautiful. No putrid oil bubbles rimming the bowl or attacking the purity of the vegetables. I also love your appetizing photos!

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2 Andrea Boddam January 15, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I’ve been in the mood to try something different for a while now (hooray for a bland college-kid diet of usually oatmeal for breakfast, some salad dish for lunch and something covered in hotsauce for dinner).
To be honest I’m actually really enjoying the flavour in this dish!

I substituted a few things.. Instead of coconut milk I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk (all I had on hand) with the coconut extract as you suggested. I also used 2 tbsp of soy sauce in place of the stir fry sauce, stevia instead of sugar and omitted the salt due to the soy sauce. I also used a hot Hungarian paprika to give it a little kick and omitted the lime leaf (couldn’t find any).
I threw in about a cup and a half of chopped rutabaga while it was cooking (leftovers) and used an entire bunch of spinach in this.

It’s sweet enough to tickle my fancy, yet still provides a nice savory flavour. It’s a shame you guys didn’t like it :(

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