Discovering Cambodia

Southeast Asia is such a unique area with many different cultures carving out thier unique flavor.  We are very fortunate to have have Channarith Vanthin leading this unique class.

“Born in Battambang, Cambodia, and ever since I can remember have been eating and assisting my mom with home-made Khmer food since I was a toddler. Since coming to the States and humbly grateful for this, I have built a knack of culinary cuisine for over 20 years. My family owns restaurants in the East Coast, and my sister have attained their culinary arts degree.  We have family in Valence, France who owns a business as well.  From the love of food and sharing it with the community, I don’t want my heritage to become extinct.  I believe in carrying the family tradition along and expanding it with modern cooking techniques while trying to make it as fresh and flavorful as possible.  I opened a restaurant/cafe in Emeryville for catering and I do pop-up dinners in Boston, NYC, LA, SF, and East Bay.  I love food and I love the science of it. Combining science with my work at NASA and Apple, southeast asian flavors, and modern cooking techniques we can create and design dishes never before seen and tasted to bring traditional Khmer dishes into a new era.  I welcome you to embark together on this journey and let your senses run organically with me.”


One of the neat things about Khmer cuisine which separates it from Thai, Chinese, and other countries is the abundance of ingredients that coexist with pairing dishes.  When you eat Khmer food, you don’t eat it alone.  You will often see soups paired with rice or appetizers, or meats paired with some dipping sauce to compliment each other.  It’s a bit of a Yin and Yang flavor combination.  So in essence, the flavors are intentionally over salty and over tangy, so that the other dish balances out to give you a wonderful pairing.
For this reason, I would like to make a special Cambodian Curry dish from scratch without using the curry powder or paste other restaurants use to sell you.  The dish is call Potato Chicken Curry or “Sach Moarng Somlaw Curry” paired with Fresh Bread.  Influenced by the French Colonies in the 1860’s, you will see many similarities between France and Cambodian cuisine–but not portion-wise.  Bread is a natural PH balance dipping ingredients that will lighten up the spices and provide a crunch to this flavorful dish.  Your tongue will tingle just by looking at the dish.  This dish can also be paired with white vermicelli noodles commonly served on the streets of Phnom Penh, but we’ll stick to bread for this class.
You will also learn how to observe the texture of the ingredients and how much to put in pending your spice thresholds. No Sriracha please!  One thing about spices, you will learn, is that it is not a 1:1 ratio in recipes. Just because you put 1 hot pepper in 1 serving, does not equate to 2 peppers in 2 servings.  The spice level is only dampened by water, but it gets into the nooks and crannies of other ingredients.  Other ingredients can also serve as a natural thickener without making the broth watered down.  We will also teach you on how to identify a well made curry vs a Uncle Ben’s version.  Join us in making this traditional dish with some modern techniques to give your sweat glands a good workout.