Khmer Home Cooking: Bobor Sam Jok

As part of our Slow Noodles memoir project with Chantha Nguon, we’re highlighting Khmer home cooking.

In our very first cooking video, the amazing Clara Kim makes bobor sam jok, a rice porridge (and ubiquitous Cambodian street food similar to congee, with ground pork, and customized with your favorite toppings.

If you’re sick, this dish will cure you. If you need profound comforting, this will do the trick. Trust us. (Or at least, trust Clara.)

Clara bobor 2Recipe: Bobor Sam Jok

  • ~2 quarts water
  • 1.5 cups jasmine rice
  • 1 lb. pork belly
  • 1 shallot
  • salt 
  • black pepper
  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 small knob ginger
  • your favorite chili sauce
  • lime wedges

Prep the pork belly: Cut away the bones and fat layer, then chop the pork into small cubes. Roughly cut a shallot, and grind it with the pork in a food processor. Season the ground pork with salt and pepper and set aside.

Fry the garlic over medium heat in a neutral oil until golden and crispy (but not burned—it will be bitter). Set aside.

Rinse rice until water comes out clear. Bring water to a boil, then add the rice. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. (In many street food stalls, vendors saute the uncooked rice in the garlicky oil, then add it to the boiling water. Not necessary, but a delicious alternative.)

While rice simmers, prep the toppings: Slice green onions and cut ginger into matchstick slivers. Arrange them into individual cute ramekins along with the fried garlic, freshly ground black pepper, limes, and the chili sauce you love best.

After about 20-25 minutes, form rough meatballs with the pork and add them to the porridge. Stir carefully, and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until pork is cooked.

Dish it up into beautiful, deep bowls. Set the table with the ramekins of toppings, and have bottles of fish sauce and soy sauce on hand. Doctor up your bobor with all the delicious things. Get low over the bowl and steam your face in that aroma. Now eat.

Feel better? Thought so.

*Big thanks to Clara Kim for playing along as the talent.

To follow along on Chantha Nguon’s culinary memory palace of Cambodian recipes and dishes from the past, check out our Slow Noodles feeds on Facebook and Instagram.

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