This classic Cambodian omelette recipe with minced pork and prahok or trei proma, two types of Cambodia’s famous fermented fish pastes, can be adapted if you’re not a fan or familiar with the funky pungent flavours that Cambodians love so much. Use fish sauce instead and balance the flavours by serving it with a raw vegetable salad and fresh fragrant herbs.
Our recipe for a classic Cambodian omelette with minced pork and prahok or trei proma, two types of Cambodia’s beloved fermented fish pastes, makes a savoury egg dish that locals love to eat for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or a snack. Prahok and trei proma are two types of fermented fish that Cambodians love (I’m also a fan), but which foreign visitors – the most enthusiastic foodies aside – struggle to appreciate.
Never fear, fish sauce is here, and it’s a perfectly suitable substitute. I love to sprinkle Cambodia’s fantastic fish sauce (teuk trei) dipping sauce all over this dish, but if you combine fish sauce instead of prahok or trei proma with your eggs, then you can douse a chilli sauce such as Sriracha or even soy sauce over your omelette. I’ll tell you more about our Cambodian omelette with minced pork and prahok recipe in a moment.
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Classic Cambodian Omelette Recipe with Minced Pork and Prahok, Cambodia’s Famous Fermented Fish
There is a reason that seven years into our project documenting Cambodian recipes and researching Cambodia’s culinary history that I’m only just starting to recipe test classic Cambodian omelettes. If you’re a foodie friend, long-term follower, or frequent visitor to our site, you’ll know the answer.
Despite eating Southeast Asian food for some 35 years, living in the region for over a decade and absolutely loving the region’s cuisines – Cambodian, Thai, Vietnamese, Laotian, Burmese, Malaysian, Indonesian, you name it – I have to confess that when it comes to omelettes I much prefer the yellow French-style omelettes with just-cooked eggs to the crispy brown omelettes beloved in Southeast Asia. With two exceptions, and this is one of them.
Southeast Asian omelettes tend to be thin and crispy or soft and puffy but they’re nearly always brown, whether a light golden brown or a deep warm brown, and the eggs are well-done. While I have a preference for eggs that are less cooked, I do love this classic Cambodian omelette recipe with minced pork and prahok or trei proma, so let me tell you about it.
Firstly, unless you’re Cambodian, you probably won’t need a fish sauce based dipping sauce to go with our classic Cambodian omelette recipe with minced pork and prahok or trei proma, as that’s probably enough funky, fishy flavour for you for one dish.
Good alternatives are an Asian chilli sauce such as Sriracha or even soy sauce. However, if you opt to use fish sauce in your omelette, then do try the omelette with the dipping sauce as well. I like to saturate my omelette with the stuff, but you can always dip pieces of omelette into the sauce.
There are recipes for this classic Cambodian pork and prahok omelette in a few Cambodian cookbooks, and I have my doubts whether they’ve even been recipe tested. One recipe uses so much pork mince, it would be impossible for the omelette to even hold together.
Another recipe uses five garlic cloves, which essentially makes a garlic omelette. They all use sugar, which I think is unnecessary. I’ve also used less fermented fish and fish sauce, simply because I prefer my food to be balanced rather than have one flavour dominate. Do keep that in mind, though, and adjust to suit your own taste.
Tips to Making this Classic Cambodian Pork and Prahok Omelette Recipe
If you’re making the dipping sauce, always make it first so that the flavours meld together, and don’t forget to taste it. Start with my recommended portions, but if it’s too fishy or sour for you, add a little more sugar.
If you’re not a fan of chillies, don’t use bird’s eyes, use mild red chillies instead. You can always add more chillies than I recommend, too. We all have such different tastes, it’s important to adjust to your own taste.
As the egg mixture puffs up around the rim, tilt the pan so that the runny egg in the centre goes over the edge. Cook for 5 minutes or so until the omelette is firm, then using a spatula carefully check to see if the underside is golden brown. When it is, carefully turn the omelette over by flipping it onto a plate and then sliding it back into the pan or flipping it directly into another pan to brown the other side.
Once done, slide the whole omelette onto a plate, then slice and serve. Cambodians will eat this omelette with steamed rice as well as whatever fresh fragrant herbs (‘chi’ in Khmer) that they have on hand – I think coriander, sawtooth coriander, basil, mint, and dill work.
They’ll also serve some raw vegetables on the side, such as cabbage, cucumber and wing beans. With a dish that’s so fishy and salty you need those fresh flavours to cleanse the palate. Once again, it’s all about balance.
Classic Cambodian Omelette Recipe with Pork and Prahok
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 birds eye chillies finely sliced
- 1 tsp palm sugar or brown/white sugar
- 4 tbsp neutral cooking oil
- 1 shallot or small onion finely chopped
- 4 large eggs beaten
- 100 g minced pork
- 1 tsp prahok or trei proma (fermented fish), mashed or 2 tbsp fish sauce
- ½ tsp sugar optional
- ½ tsp pepper
- fresh salad vegetables such as cucumber cabbage and cherry tomatoes
- fresh Southeast Asian herbs such as coriander basil and mint
- Make the dipping sauce by combining the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, finely sliced birds eye chillies, and one finely chopped garlic clove in a small bowl. Try it then adjust the seasoning to your taste so that it’s balanced. Set aside so flavours meld.
- Heat 2 tbsp cooking oil in a medium-sized frying pan then add one finely chopped garlic clove and shallot and fry until the shallot pieces are translucent then set aside.
- Fry the pork mince and pepper with the mashed prahok or trei proma or fish sauce and set aside. (Note: if you’re not familiar with the funky pungent flavours of prahok or trei proma, use half the suggested amount the first time; if you are, adjust amount to your taste. If you’re not a fan, then use fish sauce.)
- Add 2 tbsp cooking oil to the pan and heat. Meanwhile, combine the garlic, shallots and pork mince with the beaten eggs in a bowl then pour the mixture into the hot pan, ensuring the pork mince is evenly distributed.
- As the egg mixture puffs up around the rim, tilt the pan so that the runny egg in the centre goes over the edge. Cook for 5 minutes or so until the omelette is firm, then using a spatula carefully check to see if the underside is golden brown. When it is, carefully turn it over by flipping it onto a plate and sliding it back into the pan or flipping it into directly into another pan to brown the other side.
- Once done, slide the whole omelette onto a plate, then slice and serve with fresh herbs and/or raw salad vegetables. Sprinkle some of the dipping sauce onto the omelette or dip the omelette into the sauce.
Do let us know if you make this classic Cambodian omelette recipe with minced pork and prahok, as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.