the dish i never tasted before S was bok lahong (papaya salad), as well as its variants like bok sadai (green bean salad), and what we call "bok mango" - which is self-explanatory. But the term "bok" in khmer doesn't mean salad, it means the method by which you make these dishes, by crushing all the ingredients in a huge mortar and pestle thing.
i am something of a connoisseur. i can pick out my wife's bok dishes out of anyone's in the world. it's pretty unlike anything i grew up eating, so i set out to learn how to make it. after working on it for months, i have determined myself to be the #5 best bok-er in the world. yeah i said it.
so before she left, we done did this. check it:
these are the ingredient for making bok sadai: fish sauce, shrimp paste, garlic, lime, MSG, smoked fish, hot peppers, beer. (missing: green beans and sugar)
then you toast this smoked fish for a little while to bring out the flavor. it's still in the package here, we bought it in revere or maybe lowell. at this point, you should also drink your beer. if you need more, go ahead and get more.
cut up the green beans into little pieces like this. check out how fast my knife moves - it's a blur! i think this was the day i sliced off the tip of my finger.
BOK the smoked fish. break up the bones!
add the fish sauce, lime, shrimp paste, garlic, peppers, msg, and sugar. BOK that! my steez is to add a little at a time of fish sauce, lime, and sugar and taste along the way and add more of each accordingly. the flavor has to be a balance of salty, sweet, sour, and MSG-y. all those flavors should be strong too. you can only know if you know.
add the sadai and keep up the BOKing.
blacken some chicken. dark meat is highly preferred - but that's always preferred in my opinion.
typically, most people like to BOK the sadai to the point where it's more pasty than this. but my style is to keep them more whole, i like the texture that way.
eat with rice. holla.