Monday, November 9, 2009

Cambodian Spinach Leaf Appetizer

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We went to a cute Cambodian restaurant in the Mission District in San Francisco called Angkor Borei with Patti and Cliff. The restaurant received high ratings on yelp.com and was mentioned in the SF Chronicle's article "Bargain Bites". We had the most wonderful spinach leaf appetizer, a dish bursting with an array of fresh flavors - sweet, sour, pungent and salty. We ate every bit of it. It is one of the most popular menu items and I can see why. I located this recipe on internet which closely resembles the dish. You can use your favorite dipping sauce to accompany this dish. The one below is a light and sweet Vietnamese dipping sauce used with spring rolls.

Ingredients:
-Fresh spinach leaves (medium to large size)
-Coconut, shredded and toasted under broiler for a few minutes
-Roasted peanuts, salted or unsalted
-Fresh ginger, peeled and cut into tiny cubes
-Red onion, finely diced
-Serrano chili, seeds removed, finely diced
-Lime, diced small with rind removed
-Tiny dried shrimp (I substituted with fresh cooked baby shrimp)

Dipping sauce:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2T fish sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup lime juice
1-2 tsp garlic chili sauce

Dissolve the sugar in the warm water. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Adjust seasoning to your liking. This sauce is light, full of lime and mild. If you want a hotter sauce, increase the garlic chili sauce. An alternative dipping sauce is Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce which you can buy at Ranch 99 Market for $2.99 for a large 32 oz. bottle. It's thick, sweet and hot in flavor.

To serve, place the spinach leaves on a large tray along with the individual bowls containing the filling ingredients. Each guest places an assortment of the ingredients on an individual spinach leaf, then tops it with a spoonful of the sauce. It's so flavorful!

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