• Khmer Fish Stew With Lemon Grass (Samla' Metchou Peng Pa)

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    • 4 c. water
    • 4 stalk lemon grass
    • 3 Tbsp. tamarind pulp see * Note
    • 3/4 lb fish steaks,such as catfish, tilapia, or possibly other freshwater fish
    • 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
    • 2 Tbsp. Cambodian or possibly Thai fish sauce
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 lb green or possibly half-ripe tomatoes seeded, and cut into 1/2" pcs
    • 2 sm green onions trimmed, and cut into 1/2" lengths
    • 4 x fresh culantro or possibly sawtooth herbs leaves coarsely minced
    • 12 x Asian basil or possibly sweet basil leaves coarsely minced
    • 4 x to 6 rice paddy herb sprigs (ngo om) or possibly Vietnamese coriander coarsely minced
    • 1 tsp sugar or possibly to taste


    1. * Note: Tamarind pulp, fish sauce, fresh culantro or possibly sawtooth herbs, Asian basil and rice paddy herbs or possibly Vietnamese coriander can be found at Asian markets.
    2. Trim lemongrass stalks and smash flat with side of cleaver. Bring water and lemon grass to vigorous boil in large pot. Boil 5 min, half-covered, then reduce heat and simmer over medium heat a few min.
    3. Once broth is simmering, scoop about 1 c. liquid into small bowl. Add in tamarind pulp to bowl, stir well to dissolve thoroughly and set aside.
    4. Rinse off fish. If using large steaks, cut into roughly 1 1/2- to 2-inch pcs. If using small steaks, cut in half. Add in to broth along with garlic, bring to a boil, and simmer till fish is opaque, 3 min. Add in fish sauce and salt.
    5. Place sieve or possibly fine strainer over soup and pour tamarind liquid through it. Use back of wooden spoon to press tamarind pulp against strainer, then throw away remaining seeds and pith. Stir stew well and simmer several min.
    6. Add in tomatoes, green onions, culantro, Asian basil, rice paddy herb and sugar to stew and simmer 5 min. Serve warm.
    7. Serve this from a large bowl at the table, ladling it into individual small bowls, accompanied by rice, and perhaps a simple vegetable stir-fry, to make an easy meal.
    8. This recipe yields 4 servings.

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