What to Cook this Weekend is a weekly series that we launched late last year with suggestions for often easy, occasionally challenging, but always memorable weekend meals from our recipe archives. Meal ideas will include dishes we’re making at home that we think you’ll like, as well as recipes that we’re testing which you might like to try.
This weekend we’re cooking everything from Cambodian food to Mexican food to Chinese influenced dishes for the Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year holiday, which is rapidly approaching. We’re making everything from Cambodian nom banh chok, fresh slightly fermented rice noodles served with a fragrant herbaceous broth for breakfast, to authentic Mexican guacamole, which we learnt to make in Mexico.
If you’re arriving here for the first time, our What to Cook this Weekend series came about because our other recipe series What to Cook this Week, launched late last year, was so well-received by our readers. We decided to try a weekend edition, hence What to Cook this Weekend, and as this series also proved series popular, we’re continuing both in 2022 – with one change.
When we started What to Cook this Weekend, we kicked off each edition with an idea for dinner on Friday, as it marks the start of the weekend for many. Then we offered meal suggestions for Saturday and Sunday breakfast, lunch and dinner. As that overlapped with What to Cook this Week, which proposes dinner ideas from Monday to Friday (neither of these series were planned), starting today What to Cook this Weekend will only cover Saturday and Sunday.
Each week, What to Cook this Weekend will offer a round-up of meal suggestions for the weekend from the Grantourismo recipe archives – which are heaving with hundreds of recipes for dishes from around the world, beginning with decade-plus-old recipes from our first recipes series called The Dish.
We launched The Dish, on recipes for the quintessential dishes of places we settled into, when we launched Grantourismo and our 12 month global grand tour back on New Year’s Day 2010. Many of our most popular recipes on the site come from that series, from our Moroccan Moroccan lamb tajine with prunes and almonds to this classic Toulouse cassoulet.
Before I share our suggestions for what to cook this weekend, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-supported. If you’ve enjoyed our recipes, please consider supporting Grantourismo and what we do here by buying us a coffee (we’ll use our coffee money to buy cooking ingredients for recipe testing) or making a donation to our epic, original Cambodian cookbook and culinary history on Patreon.
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Now let’s share our suggestions as to what to cook this weekend.
What to Cook This Weekend from Khmer Nom Banh Chok to Ginger Scallion Noodles
Here are our ideas as to what to cook this weekend.
Saturday Breakfast – Cambodian Nom Banh Chok
For breakfast on Saturday morning, I’m making Cambodian nom banh chok – also called ‘nom pachok’ for short, especially in the Khmer diaspora. It’s one of my favourite Cambodian breakfast dishes and I absolutely adore it, and I know I’ve shared it before, but it’s so good.
Nom banh chok is an ancient Khmer dish that has influenced so many other dishes around Southeast Asia, such as Thailand’s khanom jeen and a Southern Vietnamese Khmer dish from the Mekong Delta called bún kèn.
Incidentally, the New York Times has just published a recipe for bún kèn, which doesn’t resemble the actual bún kèn that you’d eat in the Mekong Delta, and doesn’t even mention that it’s a dish made by Khmer cooks of the Khmer community of Vietnam’s Kiên Giang province, which was once part of Cambodia.
The dish is essentially the same as nom banh chok Kampot, a dish of the neighbouring Cambodian province, although there’s no mention of that. Not surprising, as the recipe is from the American-Vietnamese Red Boat Fish Sauce Cookbook, but it’s annoying that the New York Times writers and editors don’t do their own research, especially after the whole Alison Roman #TheStew debacle last year.
I’ll tell you more when I share a recipe for Cambodia’s nom banh chok Kampot / Vietnam’s bún kèn. In the meantime, enjoy this dish!
Saturday Lunch – Authentic Mexican Guacamole
This authentic Mexican guacamole recipe makes a genuine Mexican guacamole of the kind a Mexican abuela (grandma) might make – the kind that’s made table-side at good restaurants in Mexico. It’s all about the creamy luscious texture, bright green colour and full flavour of perfectly ripe avocados.
This authentic Mexican guacamole recipe is super easy to make and is best served with a bowl of fresh tortilla chips and washed down with classic margaritas or micheladas but if you’re making this for lunch, you can snack on it with tortilla chips and our easy red tomato salsa.
Or serve it with a bowl of tortilla soup, a plate of tacos al pastor, or perhaps char-grilled corn on the cobs, a grilled corn salad, nachos, or quesadillas. You could also top a nachos or big old bowl of chili con carne with a few spoons of this wonderful avocado dip.
Saturday Dinner – Stir Fried Morning Glory and Cambodian Cashew Chicken
We’re getting in the mood for Chinese New Year, which begins in a few days, and digging out our Chinese-Cambodian recipes. Any excuse to cook this wonderful food!
On Saturday night we’ll make some stir fried morning glory and stir-fried chicken with cashews for Cambodia’s cha moan krop svay chanti. The dish has its origins in China, and is kind of a cross between a Sichuanese dish and a Cantonese dish.
Found elsewhere in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, it’s also similar to a dish known as ‘cashew chicken’ in the USA and Australia, and it’s incredibly delicious.
So what’s the difference between this Cambodian stir-fried chicken with cashews recipe and the Cantonese and Thai chicken cashew recipes? The Chinese and Thai versions of this dish both use light and dark soy sauces – the dark soy is generally used to give depth of colour – but the Cambodian cashew chicken does not.
The Cambodian version of this dish contains round eggplants, whereas the Cantonese and Thai versions of cashew chicken do not. Cornstarch is used to coat the chicken meat in the Cantonese and Thai chicken cashew recipes whereas in Cambodia the chicken is marinated in fish sauce and sugar.
The quick marinade is very important to this Cambodian stir-fried chicken with cashews recipe as it adds a depth of flavour that you don’t find in the other dishes. Make sure to serve it with lots of steamed rice.
Our stir-fried morning glory or water spinach recipe makes the Cambodian dish char trokuon, which is generally eaten family-style as one element of a spread of dishes, centred around rice, that would typically include a soup, perhaps a grilled fish, a salad, and maybe a curry. This is so good, we are very happy eating it just with a bowl of rice, and Cambodia’s cashew chicken.
Sunday Breakfast – Russian French Toast Recipe
I’m going to make this Russian French toast recipe for grenki (Гренки) for breakfast on Sunday, just like my Russian grandmother and mother made. The Russian take on French toast, grenki is easy to make, with just a handful of ingredients.
Eaten for breakfast, brunch or dessert, you can serve grenki sweet, with sugar, honey, golden or maple syrup, sour cream, fruit jam or berries – or savoury with sausages, bacon and tomatoes or smoked salmon. Just don’t forget the dill!
This is a very traditional French toast recipe aimed at those of you keen to recreate the Russian breakfasts or Ukrainian breakfasts of your childhoods.
Sunday Lunch – Cambodian Fried Rice
I’m going to make a batch of this Cambodian fried rice for lunch on Sunday. It makes the best Cambodian bai cha (fried rice), a lighter version of the popular Chinese stir-fry rice dish.
Thanks to many centuries of Chinese trade and migration, Chinese fried rice is found across Southeast Asia. In Cambodia, there are many variations, bai char being the most ubiquitous.
This Cambodian fried rice recipe makes bai cha (also written as bai tcha, bai char, bai chaa, bay cha) or fried rice – ‘bai’ is rice and ‘cha’ is to stir-fry – and it’s the most popular Chinese-style fried rice in Cambodia.
It’s distinguished by two quintessential breakfast ingredients, sausage and eggs, and Siem Reap sausage in particular, the local take on lap cheong, the Cantonese name for a smoked, sweetened, red Chinese sausage.
Sunday Dinner – Ginger Scallion Sauce Recipe for Ginger Scallion Noodles
We’re making this ginger scallion sauce recipe for ginger scallion noodles on Sunday night. It makes the much-copied Momofuku homage to the classic Southern Chinese sauce that chef David Chang and food writer Francis Lam popularised over a decade ago.
Terence has been making these delicious ginger scallion noodles with the sauce ever since – well before their recent comeback – and you should too.
We typically make ginger scallion noodles by dousing the sauce over noodles and combining it with plump sweet prawns, as you see below. I add a little fish sauce, chilli flakes, and fried garlic and fried shallots for more kick and texture. Terence adds a good squirt of hoisin sauce.
And as David Chang suggests, you can serve the ginger scallion sauce “over a bowl of rice topped with a fried egg. Or with grilled meat or any kind of seafood. Or almost anything.”
Please do let us know if you’ve made any of our What to Cook this Weekend recipes in the comments below as we’d love to get your feedback and hear how our recipes turned out for you.