The Saraman Curry, or Cari Saramann is a Khmer curry. Khmer people are the predominant ethnic group in Cambodia (about 90% of the population). Because the curry is a time consuming one, it’s made on special occasions for Khmers, especially in the Muslim communities of Cambodia.
Let me start off with an apology to the curry makers of the world…I am so sorry for repeating my error from the Sri Lankan Curry, and using the electric frying pan again to make my curry. Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with the electric frying pan I have. It’s really useful actually. But, it’s not for curry. With my Sri Lankan curry I didn’t cook the onion enough as I was worried it was burning. With this Saraman curry I overcooked the only ingredient that needed proper cooking – the beef. I think what happened was that the electric frying pan doesn’t really have a simmer setting (well not that I’m aware of how to use correctly). So when you turn down the heat it turns off. And then starts boiling again when it’s dropped below the heat. Otherwise it boils like crazy. Epic fail. The recipe called for the curry to simmer for like an hour, which I allowed for, only realising that the beef had cooked for about 55 minutes longer than what it should have by the end.
Anyway, negatives out the way, and on to the silver lining. The creamy coconut sauce with the homemade curry paste was absolutely incredible – I actually froze some for future use. I of course buggered it up slightly (sorry, another negative) in that I made a quarter of the recipe, but then added all the onion, which I then removed from the mixture, but only when it was already mixed with the lemongrass and garlic. So I don’t know if those quantities were mixed up in the process. It really was absolutely delicious though. The beef was tasty too, and when you got a tender piece it was like finding a diamond in the rough, or a blackcurrant sweet among a bag of liquorice sweets.
I used fish sauce instead of shrimp paste, and ginger instead of galangal (similar kind of thing). The Tamarind I found was quite pricey so I didn’t want to buy it, but I used some lemon juice in it’s place – tamarind water apparently adds a bitter element.
I would definitely make it again, but not like that. I would use a pot on the stove rather, when I can be sure of the simmer. I also probably won’t go for a run or Facetime my mother while it’s cooking either (I did both of those things) – so I can at least monitor what’s going on there. As I said, the curry paste was delish, and I’ll definitely use the paste I have stored in the freezer.
I don’t have much to write about Cambodia to be honest. I would love to visit, and I have many friends who have visited and loved it. Their flag is pretty cool, much of their cuisine is fish related (not so keen on that), and Theravada Buddhism is their predominant religion. I’m sure the friends who have visited would be able to tell me more if I needed to know…