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This weekend I have offered to cook for 40 people in a Cambodian orphanage..

(12 Posts)
IWasTheBadOne Tue 04-Dec-12 04:45:25

and only now has it struck me that I could well be out of my depth!

So I am visiting this orphanage with my OH who is one of their main donors. I have been once already, a few months ago. The cooking facilities are very basic - outdoor, wood fuel stove, not enough kitchen equipment.

Their usual meals are rice, curry with meat, and a different vegetable curry. For some reason I got volunteered to make spaghetti bolognese, I guess because it's very unusual there but so bog standard here. But I really don't know how practical that would be. The food all comes from the local market and is in a very natural state, eg whole chickens and fish, huge piles of muddy vegetables. Not much chance of finding minced beef there, to be sure.

OH offered to make mince by bashing it with a meat mallet, but I can only picture a huge lump of sloppy beef! Also, spaghetti is probably hard to come by there so I would have to pack enough for 40 people in our luggage; how many packets would that be, I wonder?

So! Not sure what I'm asking here! Is spag Bol a really bad idea, or perfectly doable and sensible? And if not, what would be easy to make in that situation with the kind of raw materials I've mentioned? Anyone??

laptopwieldingharpy Tue 04-Dec-12 05:13:54

Make macaroni bolognese.
You will find macaroni there and can be precooked without going lumpy.
Make the bolgnese with very beef chuck or better with a couple of super slow cooked legs of lamb.
Stew everything in a very well seasonned tomato sauce the day before. Cook for 4 hours so that the meat will just fall off the bone and shred with a fork into the sauce.
Cooking ahead gives you time to adjust seasonning (remember the local taste goes for salty and spicy) + you can add more tomatoes to make a really rich gravy as the mest will have soaked up quite a bit.

Good luck and well done on volunteering!

laptopwieldingharpy Tue 04-Dec-12 05:20:14


Gingerodgers Tue 04-Dec-12 05:21:17

Good luck, I hope it works out. My husband is in cambodia just now with a local charity, and is finding it all a bit overwhelming, even tho he had some idea of what to expect. You could use casserole type cuts with the ingredients of a bolognaise sauce, it would still be lovely, and as suggested, a different type of pasta, or noodles which would be available. Best wishes.

laptopwieldingharpy Tue 04-Dec-12 05:24:50

Just skip the marinating and cook in a pot stirring often.
If you must cook on the day, get cracking at 8am and have ectra jars of tomatoes + tomato paste ready.
Add a bit of water as you go to keep it from sticking to then pan and big lashings of oil to keep the gravy rich.

IWasTheBadOne Tue 04-Dec-12 10:08:44

Thanks for replies smile

Yes, one of the problems is I will be cooking on that day as we are only there for a very short weekend (we live elsewhere in SE Asia).

I really like the macaroni and slow cooked meat idea. I'm sure I could do that, as we will be getting there early on Saturday. I was thinking about copping out and doing a curry, but this would be cool as something different for them. Should be easy enough with one big pot with the macaroni and the meat/sauce in a big wok type pan.

IWasTheBadOne Tue 04-Dec-12 12:51:56

laptopwieldingharpy are you still there?

I just wanted to check with you if you know for a fact that macaroni is available there? If not I will be able to take it with me, but would just be easier not to! TIA

laptopwieldingharpy Wed 05-Dec-12 03:32:59

No sorry am in Asia but not cambodia.
I would think you'd definitely find them. Maybe someone at the orphanage could find out?

I would not do a curry unless you have a long established family recipe perfectly perfectly under control.
You could do a chicken chasseur sort of thing?
Cook chicken in a rich gravy as you would for an osso bucco and serve with rice? You'd easily find celery, carrots and herbs to make a rich earthy stew?

IWasTheBadOne Wed 05-Dec-12 04:50:47

Ah, you too hey? I'm in Singapore; very different shopping for groceries here than in Cambodia!

Chicken chasseur sounds gorgeous, but I would really prefer to do something not involving rice since it's their staple diet. I will try and find out from someone about the macaroni, and if not I will just take it with me! Got loads of suitcase space!

laptopwieldingharpy Wed 05-Dec-12 04:56:41

HK (and SG before)
but they do those hideous macaroni/spam soups everywhere for bkfst no?
Even in Vietnam, I could not understand why anyone would have that instead of a delicious Pho!

Anyway, if you have an empty suitcase, make a trip to fair price!

sashh Wed 05-Dec-12 08:11:39

Take loads of spaghetti with you, it lasts for years so any you don't use can be left with the orphanage.

Instead of spag bol (which isn't Italian) do a vegy sauce, or a cabonara type.

finely chopped onions - sweat for a few mins
chopped veg or bacon or mixture of both
creme fresh (or cream or soured cream) tipped into the cooking pot before adding the spaghetti.

laptopwieldingharpy Wed 05-Dec-12 08:21:46

IMHO, you wont find creme fraiche in Siem Reap and if you did, they would not find it very palatable. Dairy is an alien concept.

Maybe a chilli/coriander/ garlic/ bacon pasta? a bacon pesto pasta?

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