Num Cheal Khmer Cake
Num Cheal – Pchum Ben Day’s Cake
Num Cheal (នំជាល) is one of Khmer traditional cakes that has exist until today. Num Cheal has its origin in Kampong Chhang province and has become popular all over country of Cambodia. Cheal is the round container made of bamboo slices, could be 8-10 cm in diameter and about 15 cm high. Num Cheal is contained in it and steam, that’s why the cake is so called.
Num Cheal is usually made during Pchum Ben Day just like Num Ansom (sticky rice cake). They have got another name as ‘Pchum Ben Cake’. Mostly when people visit their families in the provinces on Pchum Ben Day, they will come back to the city with Num Ansom and Num Cheal.
Read further in case you would like to find out how Num Cheal has been made.
- Sticky rice
- Palm sugar
- Soak sticky rice for one hour, then mill, drain, and press it hard
- Mix the sticky rice dough with palm sugar, shredded coconut meat, sesames, and add a little salt. However, if we want to keep it for serving in a longer time, coconut meat is excluded.
- Place plastic bag inside the containers and then pour the mixed dough into the containers. Arrange the containers in the steamer or steaming pot. In the past, when there is no plastic bag, banana leave is used.
- Num Cheal need about one hour steaming in order to be cooked, after that leave it cool and dry it in the sunlight.
How to serve Num Cheal?
Though after steamed the cake is cooked, but Num Cheal is served after fried. So after dried Num Cheal can be kept for months (if made without coconut meat). Whenever want to eat, slice the cake into thin pieces and fry with little cooking oil on low heat.
Num Cheal is nice to eat when it’s still hot. After fried the cake is not completely become crispy like other fried foods, but the mixture of crispy and soft. If it’s kept cool, the cake becomes hard.
Even thought modern people might not like Num Cheal very much, however, Num Cheal is still a popular cake for annual events, Pchum Ben Day. Everyone will have only one chance to eat Num Cheal in a year. And the city people are happy to have it come back home.