The Nhoam Sdao is a bitter and sour salad, popular in rural areas for its therapeutic values. It is very typical and delicious for those accustomed to bitter taste in cuisine. The Sdao is from the Mahogamy tree family and has many medicinal functions: the bark of the roots and trunk and the young fruit have tonic and antimalarial properties, while the leaves and seeds are used as disinfectant and stimulant. Thanks to Thida's family to teach me how to prepare the Battambang style Nhoam Sdao which has vermicelli added to the salad.
Ingrédients (Quantity: 20 persons)
- 400g of sdao
- 100g seedless wet tamarind
- 1 cup of warm water
- 4 garlic cloves
- 5 shallots
- 3-4 chillies
- 2 cucumbers
- 200g bean sprout
- 3 branches of spring onions
- 200 g lean pork belly
- 150-200g fermented fish prahok
- 100g vermicelli - cooked
- 400g dried fish
Slice the shallots, set aside;
Mince the fermented fish prahok, then wrap in a banana leaf and grill the pack at 300°F until cooked (about 10 minutes).
Blanch the sdao bunches for 10 seconds and remove them swiftly. Remove the leaves and flowers from the stems and set aside;
Boil the lean pork belly until cooked. Let it cool then slice the pork belly into strip of 3 mm wide, 1.5 cm long.
Do not peal the cucumber. Cut around the center of the cucumber keeping the outer cut the same distance from the center. As you get near the original cut, aim to cut below the original track. The outer cut should now be about 2 cm from the original outer cut. Continue cutting round the cucumber keeping the flesh all in one piece. Finally cut the strips from the cucumber. Go on until you reach the heart of the cucumber. Discard the heart and slice the solid parts of the cucumber into sticks of about 3 mm wide, 1.5 cm long.
Broil the dried fish for 2-3 minutes to bring up the aroma.
Grind the garlic and chilies in a mortar and add half of the grilled prahok. Pound until well mixed. Add half of the dried fish. Pound coarsely.
Mix the wet tamarind with the water until it is pureed; add the other half of the prahok and mix well. Then add the mixture from the mortar. Mix well.
Cook the vermicelli following the instructions from the producer. Drain well.
In a large salad bowl, put the sdao flowers and leaves, the sliced cucumber, the bean sprouts, the sliced lean pork belly, the vermicelli. Add the sauce and mix lightly. Adjust in adding more sauce to your liking. Serve immediately.
About the Sdao
The Sdao (Margosa, Margousier, Neem tree, Quinine) is a tree in the hardwood mahogany family Meliaceae. It is one of two species in the genus Azadirachta Indica (Juss var. siamensis Valeton), and is native to India and the Indian subcontinent. It is is 8-15 meter high, common in dry evergreen forest, often cultivated. The young leaves and inflorescences have a bitter taste and are prepared as a vegetable. It blossoms between November and February. The neem tree has many medicinal functions: the bark of the roots and trunk and the young fruit have tonic and antimalarial properties, while the leaves and seeds are used as disinfectant and stimulant. The young leaves and flowers are tonic and digestant, as the petioles of the leaves act as a febrifuge. All parts, in particular the seeds have insecticidal properties. The leaves are dried and placed in cupboards to prevent insects eating the clothes and also while storing rice in tins. They are also dried burnt to keep away mosquitoes.