London, UK: Celebrity British chef Gordon Ramsay has finished a new book on Southeast Asian cuisine, with a large section devoted to Cambodian cooking. Known as one of the rudest, most angry chefs on the planet thanks to shows like Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares, Ramsay’s no-holds barred style shines through in the new work.
Much of the research was done with local chef, and near-namesake Rasmay, who took Gordon on tours of local markets and shared culinary tips over Zoom video calls, due to the pandemic.
Some highlights of the book include:
Tuk Trey (Cambodian dipping sauce): “The secret is to add so many red hot chili peppers that it begins singing ‘Give it away now’ and enough garlic to ward off every vampire in Eastern Europe”
Sngor Chou Trey (sour fish soup): “This recipe uses carp, which maybe as common as dog turds in a Birmingham park in all these course fishing ponds, but are hard to get hold of retail. I bought a pair off A Lithuanianian called Evor, who is willing to break the ‘catch and release’ rules for a score.
Mo-An Co-Ca (BBQ chicken): Rasmay told me how Khmer people like their meat so fresh, it has to live with it’s auntie and uncle in Bel Air- supermarkets are out of the question. So I found the skinniest living chicken I could, cut it’s throat and plucked it in boiling water and then soaked it in Cola before grilling. I made Tana eat the head and feet and Matilda the giblets- nothing gets wasted.
Prahok (fermented fish paste): This unique recipe is fishier than a divorced Doncaster mum of five. I called Evor for some more carp, but also needed small fish called trey riel. I had to improvise and use minnows and sticklebacks we caught in bottle traps from the stream behind my Cornish manor house- just as good.
Other chapters of the book look at Thai, Vietnamese and Laotian dishes. “I love Asia, the food, the people- that’s why I can’t wait to get back” Chef Ramsay said.
Ramsay’s Indochinese Kitchen Adventures, published by Bloomsbury is out in May.