Hello Everyone! February flew by in just the blink of an eye, and before we know it, in a couple of days it’ll be March already! This also means that this will be the last Cambodian recipe that I will be sharing on my blog, for now. There are still so many wonderful recipes that the country has to offer, and maybe one day I’ll revisit the cuisine and discover more dishes that’ll take a liking to my tastebuds.
For our last Cambodian cuisine, I’ll be sharing a popular street snack that is sold across the country, known as Num Ansom Chek, or in English, Rolled Banana Rice Cake. It is a traditional Cambodian snack that is low fat, healthy, and easy to make as it only requires a few ingredients to put together. In many Cambodian snacks, banana is used because of its abundance in the tropical region, and its ritual value. Of course, it is also delicious and sweet!
Other than bananas, this snack also includes sticky rice and grated coconut. Sometimes, jackfruit is also added, but since I’m not a huge fan of jackfruit, I’ve replaced them with strips of mango instead. You may also add red mung beans or black beans and it can also be sweetened with palm sugar if desired. All of this is then carefully rolled and enclosed in a banana leaf. The resulting cylindrical-shaped snack is then steamed until tender and fragrant.
In Cambodia, this sweet delicacy is traditionally prepared for important celebrations such as Cambodian New Year and the religious festival Pchum Ben (Festival of Souls). With a culture that is heavily influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism, during a festival, it is common practice to offer food to the monks at the temple, and the ghosts of our ancestors, relatives, and friends. One of the foods that they offer is Num Ansom Chek because of their ability to be kept for days without being spoiled. This is due to them being wrapped and steamed in banana leaves.
Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Vanier Culinary by Thun-Carl Sieu.
PREP TIME 30 MINS* | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | MAKES 6 ROLLS
*Allow for 6 hours to overnight to soak the glutinous rice.
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1 ripe mango (optional)
- 1 & 1/2 cups sweet glutinous rice, soaked for at least 6 hours or overnight
- 3/4 cup freshly grated coconut
- Salt, to taste
- Banana leaves, 6 of about 15cm x 20cm pieces
- Drain the water from the soaked rice and mix the grated coconut in with the rice.
- Peel and cut the bananas in half and sprinkle a touch of salt over them.
- Take a piece of banana leaf and place a small portion of the rice and coconut mixture in a horizontal line along the longer side of the banana leaf. Place a banana half in the centre of the rice and strips of ripe mango if you wish. Top the fruits with more rice, there should be enough to fully surround them.
- Roll the banana leaf tightly around the rice to form a log and fold both edges in to seal. Make sure that the leaf is not loose so that the mixture can use it as a mold. Use string to secure the banana leaf wrapping if needed. Repeat until all of the bananas have been wrapped.
- Stack the rolls in a steamer and steam over boiling water for about 60 minutes.
- Once done, allow to cool slightly before unwrapping and serving. Enjoy!
– Ally xx