Sweet Garleek Tuk Trey
BY CHINCHAKRIYA UN (BROOKLYN, NY)
Tuk trey is a versatile Cambodian sauce made from garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, chile peppers and herbs; in this case, Sweet Garleek stems take the place of the garlic, giving the sauce a more delicate flavor. Spoon this over just about any protein, or use it as a dipping sauce for salad rolls, spring rolls, fresh vegetables and more.
- 2 - 3 Sweet Garleek stalks
- 1 stalk lemongrass, tender parts thinly sliced
- 2 bird’s eye chilis, stems removed
- 1 clove garlic
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp MSG
- 2 tbsp palm sugar
- 1½ - 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 limes
- 3 tbsp chopped herbs such as cilantro, dill, rau rum (Vietnamese coriander), mint, lemon balm
- Toasted rice powder, to taste
Separate the Sweet Garleek white stems from the greens, and set the greens aside for another use (braising, stir-frying, etc). Trim the root ends from the whites, then give them a thorough rinse before slicing them into 1-inch chunks.
In a mortar and pestle, smash together the Sweet Garleek whites, sliced lemongrass, bird's eye chilis and garlic until the ingredients are chunky, but not pulverized. Pound in the palm sugar, a pinch of salt and the MSG.
With a small spoon, stir in the juice of one lime and 1½ tbsp of fish sauce, followed by the herbs.
Taste, and adjust accordingly by adding more palm sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and/or herbs; when ready, the sauce should be a harmony of sweet, salty, sour and spicy flavors.
A generous pinch of toasted rice powder can be added at the end to add texture and a nutty flavor to the sauce.