នំំបញ្ចុកសំំឡខ្មែរ - NUM BANH CHOK SAMLAW KHMER (Rice Vermicelli With Green Sauce)

Recipe taken from The International Table: Recipes from the Seattle Sister Cities

Num Banh Chok Samlaw Khmer is a light and nutritious everyday food that is so popular you could say it is the Khmer signature dish. You can eat it at any time of day and find it everywhere; vendors go from house to house carrying it like a saddle over their shoulders, with the samlaw (soup) on one side and everything else on the other, calling out loudly “Num Banh Chok, aye Num Banh Chok” to let people know they are there.

If you cannot find the fresh vegetables described in the accompaniments, replace them with shredded cabbage, grated carrot, chopped celery, or any other fresh, raw vegetable that you like. Serves 4-5 .




7 cups water 2 1/2 lbs tilapia or white fish, dressed, and cut into steaks

2 Tbsp prahok (fish paste)*

1 Tbsp fish sauce*

1 tsp coarse salt, or to taste

3 Tbsp green kroeung (see page 218)

1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts (optional)


1 banana flower blossom*

1 Tbsp lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar to soak banana flower

3 handfuls bean sprouts, tails removed

4 long beans* or 12 green beans, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

1 Thai chili pepper, chopped

1 8 oz package rice vermicelli

*PRAHOK (ប្រហុក) is a salty, fermented fish paste used in Cambodian cooking. It has a strong, distinctive smell and is sometimes called “Cambodian cheese.”

*FISH SAUCE is a pungent sauce common in Asian cooking. It is made of fermented fish with a salty, sweet, and funky flavor. Though not quite the same flavor, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, or vegetarian options can be used instead.

*BANANA FLOWER BLOSSOM are flowers of the banana plant, which grow at the bottom of an unripened banana bunch. They are common in Asian cuisines. Substitute with shredded green papaya or artichokes.

*LONG BEANS (sometimes called ASPARAGUS BEANS or CHINESE LONG BEANS) are similar to green beans, which are a good substitute.



For the green sauce, bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add fish, prahok, fish sauce, and salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until fish is just cooked. Remove fish and carefully remove the skin and bones. Strain fish stock and set aside.

Mix the fish, green kroeung and roasted peanuts, if using. In a large pot, bring fish stock to a boil. Add fish and kroeung mixture. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Peel off and discard tough purple outer petals of banana flower. Discard yellow undeveloped bananas hidden between each petal. Continue to peel until you reach a layer of white-yellowish petals. These inner petals are tender and suitable for cooking.

Cut banana flower in half lengthwise. Remove and discard hard core, then slice banana flower very thinly. To prevent the slices from browning, soak them in water mixed with some lemon juice, lime juice, or 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Drain just before you are ready to serve. Reheat green sauce and ladle into a large serving bowl. Arrange banana flower, vegetables and rice vermicelli (cooked according to package directions) on separate platters.

To serve, guests place a little of each vegetable into their individual bowls. Next, add rice vermicelli and top with green sauce. Serve salt and fresh chili in small saucers on the side for guests to help themselves, as desired.