Somlah Kako

Cambodian Vegetable Stew

2 ounces oil
2 1/2 cups lemongrass paste
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup japanese eggplant (can also use regular or asian eggplant)
1 cup peeled butternut squash cut into 2 inch pieces
1 cup green papaya, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 cup asian long beans cut into 2 inch lengths
1 cup green tomatoes cut into 1 inch wedges
1 cup zucchini sliced diagonally into 2 inch pieces
1 cup baby bok choy, sliced
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup dried shitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced
1 cup oyster mushrooms
20 leaves spinach, about
1/4 cup toasted rice powder
thinly sliced bird's eye chilies

To make toasted rice powder: Place raw jasmine rice on a half sheet pan or tray and roast at 350 degrees oven for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and grind to powder using a coffee grinder.

Heat oil in pot. Add lemongrass paste and render for 30 seconds; add sugar and salt. Add all the vegetables except for the spinach and mushrooms. Stir to coat everything for a few minutes. Add vegetable stock, bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Add shitake mushroom and oyster mushrooms and cook for 1 more minute. Add toasted rice and spinach last, simmer for 1 minute longer.

Serve with jasmine rice and lots of chilies on the side.

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