Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 6, 2017)
February 6, 2017
THE ASIAN REPORTER n Page 13
Cambodia’s “perfect pepper” conquering world’s taste
Continued from page 2
RICE REPLACEMENT. Roasting or sautéing cauliflower caramelizes its natural sugars. Pictured is a serv-
ing of Fried Cauliflower “Rice” with Shiitake, Canadian Bacon, and Peas. (Sara Moulton via AP)
By Sara Moulton
The Associated Press
ntil pretty recently, there was
nothing sexy about cauliflower.
Boiled or steamed, it’s bland at
best. And if you overcook it, you’d better
duck or suffer the smell of dirty diapers.
But roasting or sautéing cauliflower is a
different story. The veggie’s natural
sugars caramelize and its tasty inner
cauliflower suddenly blossoms. Think
popcorn with an attitude.
Cauliflower is surprisingly versatile,
too. Pulsed in a food processor, it ends up
looking and feeling like white rice. Indeed,
given that it’s high in fiber and an
assortment of vitamins and minerals,
cauliflower is a healthy alternative to
In the interest of coaxing out
cauliflower’s best flavor, I have cooked this
recipe’s allotment as if it were fried rice,
sautéing it until golden. The “rice” is then
infused with the usual Asian suspects —
scallions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and
sesame oil — and bulked up with mush-
rooms, Canadian bacon, and peas.
(Vegetarians are welcome to swap in some
tofu for the Canadian bacon.)
Wonderful as it is the first time around,
this dish is also the perfect foil for
leftovers. Steak, chicken, shrimp, other
cooked vegetables? Whatever’s sitting in
the refrigerator and awaiting its second
chance, toss it in. And if you need an excuse
to go Asian, consider the Lunar New Year,
which began January 28, kicking off the
Year of the Rooster. Otherwise, feel free to
enjoy this recipe year-round.
Editor’s note: Sara Moulton is the host of public
television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals.” She was
executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25
years and spent a decade hosting several Food
Network shows, including “Cooking Live.” Her
latest cookbook is Home Cooking 101.
Fried Cauliflower “Rice” with Shiitake, Canadian Bacon, and Peas
Start to finish: 1 hour (40 active)
1 small cauliflower (about 1 3/4 pounds)
1/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
2 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces Canadian bacon, cut into medium dice
2 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 1/2 bunches scallions, sliced thin (white and green parts kept separate —
you will need about 1/2 cup of the whites and 1/3 cup of the greens)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 cup blanched fresh or thawed frozen peas
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Remove the core and chop the cauliflower roughly into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces. In a
food processor pulse the cauliflower in two-cup amounts until chopped into rice-size
pieces (you should have about four cups).
In a large nonstick or stick-resistant skillet over medium-high heat, heat one
tablespoon of the vegetable oil.
In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a tablespoon of water, a pinch of salt,
and some pepper then add the eggs to the pan. Tilt the pan to spread the eggs all
around to make a flat pancake. Cook until almost set, 30 to 45 seconds. Turn over
the egg (you can cut it in a few pieces to make it easier, using the side of a nonstick
pan-safe spatula) and cook for another 10 seconds. Transfer the cooked eggs to a
Add one tablespoon of the vegetable oil, the Canadian bacon, and the shiitake
mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is browned at
the edges, about six minutes. Transfer the bacon and mushroom mixture to a bowl
with a slotted spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add 1/2 tablespoon of the
remaining oil and the white part of the scallion to the pan. Cook, stirring
occasionally, about two minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, one
minute. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with the bacon mixture and return the
skillet to the heat.
Add the remaining two tablespoons of vegetable oil to the skillet, then add the
cauliflower and a hefty pinch of salt, pressing it flat with the back of the spatula.
Cook until the “rice” is golden brown in spots, turning it over with the spatula, about
10 to 12 minutes.
While the “rice” is cooking, slice the egg into strips and add it along with the peas
to the bowl with the bacon. When the “rice” is nicely crisped, add the contents of the
bacon bowl, the peas, soy sauce, and sesame oil to the skillet and cook, stirring, until
the mixture is heated through. Transfer the fried cauliflower “rice” to four bowls
and top each portion with some of the sliced scallion greens and pine nuts.
Nutrition information per serving: 483 calories (350 calories from fat); 39 g fat (4
g saturated, 1 g trans fats); 121 mg cholesterol; 665 mg sodium; 20 g carbohydrate; 7
g fiber; 7 g sugar; 15 g protein.
Kampot pepper. Most belong to the
Kampot Pepper Promotion Association,
which assists in price-setting and
marketing while policing strict standards,
including adherence to organic practices.
Cultivators use methods tested over 700
years, with some injecting new techniques.
Sorn Sothy, a former teacher and social
worker, tries to reproduce the jungle
environment native to the pepper plant on
her small plantation. Palm leaves are used
as shade; the soil is enriched with bat and
cow manure mixed with bloodied animal
bones. To ward off predatory insects, she
sprays plants with a bitter extract from the
leaves of neem trees.
The plantation run by Chaboche and
Porre is Cambodia’s first semi-automated
pepper operation, but its more than 100
employees still do much of the work by
hand. “Our growing is traditional. The
processing is modern,” says Porre.
Jean-Marie Brun, a French agricultural
development expert, says the advent of
large plantations could lower prices, and
possibly quality. “The future will tell us if
the large plantations are as successful as
the smallholder farms,” he says.
Ngoun Lay, the association’s head and a
fourth-generation pepper farmer, waxes
bullish about the future despite potential
problems and ongoing robust sales of fake
Kampot pepper, mostly from Vietnam.
A recent report, he says, shows
European demand for the brand at around
200 tons while production next year is
expected at some 100. Farm gate prices
have tripled over the past seven years,
keeping once-poor farmers on the land
rather than seeking menial work in
Stephane Arrii, producer of the Marquis
de Kampot label, worries that extensive
deforestation has degraded the region’s
soil. He says huge plantations on the
still-fertile lands of northeast Cambodia
could one day offer competition.
But will they match Kampot’s quality?
“As a Frenchman, I can attest that
tasting Kampot pepper is like making
love,” says Arrii. “Once you start, you can’t
New Indonesia tsunami network could add crucial minutes
Continued from page 4
everyone is convinced a tsunami detection
system is essential.
“Why? Because the tsunami is too quick
to arrive to the land. After the earthquake,
we evacuate. No need to detect the
tsunami. Just evacuate. That is the second
opinion. That is why it is hard to have the
budget,” said Turyana.
Memories of the 2004 tsunami are fresh
enough that Indonesians living near the
coast typically run for high ground
whenever the land shakes, as it frequently
Yet without a reliable system that
reduces false alarms, a “crying wolf” effect
will eventually change people’s behavior,
say proponents of the detection network.
Not least, it can give disaster officials
crucial information about a tsunami, such
as the heights of its waves and where and
when they will hit.
“This system is to make sure the
tsunami is really coming,” said Febrin
Ismail, a structural engineer involved in
earthquake mitigation and tsunami
planning for Padang.
“Sometimes after the earthquake,
people are running and then they see the
tsunami doesn’t come. In the future maybe
they don’t run again. We are afraid the
quake itself is not effective.”