Pa Ork – Khmer Favorite Food

Pa Ork (ប្អក់) is another kind of Khmer special food beside Prohok that can be kept for year. Pa Ork is also made of fish and fermented until the flesh become cooked. The kinds of fish that can be chosen to make Pa Ork included Trei Sanday, Trei Pra, Trei Po, Trei Kae, ect. mostly are big fishes with more fish oil. Below is the brief description of how Pa Ork have been made.

After cleaned the fish, the flesh is cut length-wise along the fish body into several pieces, but not separate from each other, still in a cluster of one fish. Then the fish must be kept to dry off the water before salted. 10kg of fish need 0.5kg of salt. After salted from 3-5 days, the salted fish must be mixed with roasted rice and pounded rum deng (a kind of Khmer herb, similar to ginger). Then continue to ferment it in a closed pot or jar for one month. After this the fish flesh become cooked and can be either eaten raw or cook with pork or cook in soup. The popular dishes with Pa Ork are Pa Ork Chean, Pa Ork Chom Huy, or just eaten fresh after taken out from the jar. Many kinds of fresh vegetables are needed to eat with Pa Ork included tomato, cucumber, eggplant, water spinach, long bean, cabbage, ect.

Pa Ork Chean (Fried Pa Ork)

Pa Ork Chean

Take the fish out from the jar, then cut it into pieces, put aside. Heat one tablespoon of cooking oil in a frying pan, add 3 cloves finely chopped garlic, then add 2 tablespoons of palm sugar or just white sugar, let it dissolve well with the cooking oil. When the color of the mixture become red, we can put Pa Ork in. Let the fish flesh get hot, then take it off from fire. That’s Pa Ork Chean, even the name is fried Pa Ork, but we don’t need to fry the Pa Ork until dried.

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