I recently posted this on our friend, Jimmy (from Jimmy Eats World) blog to help enlighten his peeps to the challenges of cooking in Asia, and the awesome food adventures you can have. Stove-top, rice flour pizza is amazing…but what do you think??
Cooking dinner at home here in Phnom Penh is limited to what can be cooked on the stove top. On high. Slow cooking, low cooking, oven cooking is possible with some alterations to the stove as the gas stove we cook on is pretty basic and we don’t have an oven. Some people are horrified or feel terrible for us living under such primative conditions but the reality of it is – who really wants to cook with an oven when the ambient temperature is 30 degrees?! Not me.
This kind of kitchen setup is not new for Mick and I. We had a similar setup in Chiang Mai, in fact our apartment there in the “103 building” didn’t even have a burner or electric stove. We cooked up a storm using a butane gas burner. Yep, you are thinking correctly, we used a camp stove. As challenging and frustrating this could be (one burner is not easy to manage sometimes!) I still managed to cook some delicious food, especially Thai food. Curries, stir-fries, soups and spicy salads could be whipped up quickly and on the table in no time at all.
But eating a grain free diet (with the exception of rice) here in the Kingdom of Kampuchea can have its downfalls. Sometimes you just want to eat something bready without the wheat flour bogging you down. In Australia, I became a pro at whipping up grain-free pizzas made with tapioca and rice flour, making pao de queijo (cheesy tapioca breads) or other bread-substitutes for those times you just want something of that ilk. Here, that’s near impossible due to the need of an oven to make such delicious items. However, because I love a challenge and love to experiment I decided to have a go at making something a bit “bread-like” to satiate my craving for something after Mick and I went to a restaurant that served up a rice-flour pancake/pizza called “chatamari” which I found out is Nepalese. It was crispy, dense and absolutely delicious and considering it was made in a local kitchen, I thought I would give it a go!
2/3 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch/tapioca flour
Ghee (or vegetable oil)
Beat the egg and then mix through the salt and flour, adding a little flour at a time. You are aiming to make a cake-like batter. Add a bit of water if required or more rice flour as required.
Heat the ghee (or oil) in a frypan on medium and pour some of the batter in, making a pancake-sized base. Turn the heat to low and place a lid over the pancake and cook for approximately 2 minutes, making sure it doesn’t burn. Take the lid off and quickly put on the toppings with a quick grate of cheese if you like. Put the lid back on and cook until the cheese is melted. Slide off onto a pan and serve!
The toppings you can put on this dish are only limited to your imagination. We made a few different versions such as:
– Shredded ham and cheese with an egg cracked in the middle. Mick said this tasted like an egg and bacon muffin!
– Leftover curry with some added shallots and a small amount of cheese.
– Stewed apple topped with some greek yoghurt and honey – great dessert pizza!
– Minced garlic, leftover roast pork and cheese
– Smear of tomato paste, ham, olives, mushroom and cheese.
I think the key element to this post is to have fun and experiment with your cooking, even if you are faced with some challenges. You never know what incredible things you might be able to make, or what dishes will be a staple. Its so easy to fall into the trap of having excuses for not cooking, to eat out all the time or to give up and revert back to eating 2-minute noodles.