Cambodian Waffles (Num Poum)

Cambodian waffles

I’ve been teaching a friend’s grandmother, Channa, to make pizza. I literally have no idea how she got the desire to learn to cook Italian but she’s a relentlessly inquisitive student and masterful Cambodian cook. The exchange is a little one-sided – I tend to pick up about ten recipes for every one that I teach her.

“Can I put morning glory on pizza? Cucumber? Prahok? Do you need a special knife to cut pizza? Is yeast made from rice or wheat? Is cheese and butter the same? Can you make cheese?” She asked.

I tried to explain that you can put anything on pizza (I’m not a purist). I explained yeast as “the powder that makes bread grow” only to find that there is a Khmer word for it. Cheese and butter are not the same. I can only make simple cheese and not mozzarella. Then she described to me her first disastrous attempt to make pizza.

Knowing how to make waffles, she assumed that Cambodian waffle batter and pizza dough, were at heart, the same thing and so she made waffle batter with more rice flour to thicken and no palm sugar.

Her thoughts: “It was not delicious”

In the process, I managed to glean her waffle recipe. The above photo is from a waffle vendor at Psar Tuol Tom Poung (Russian Market) in Phnom Penh

Cambodian Waffles (Num Poum)

1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup of coconut milk
3/4 cup of palm sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt

In a bowl, mix the flour, coconut milk, palm sugar and eggs and salt. Brush a waffle iron with oil pour in the batter and cook over an open fire until light brown and crispy.

See also: Sisters All Day Breakfast

7 thoughts on “Cambodian Waffles (Num Poum)”

  1. I love it! But this post does not answer the eternal question: why can I always find the wffle man when I want don’t want waffles but never when I do?

  2. You know, I found the waffles to be waaaay too sweet. My fried banana vendor used to have ‘em all the time, and I tried them once when my beloved bananas were sold out. It just might have been their recipe, but since most Cambodian sweets are too sugary for my tastes…

  3. This reminds me of how I’d like to learn to read Khmer script.
    A few years back I tried to order a plate of noodles without eggs outside Preah Khan. My ludicrous Khmer left the stall owner confused, then doubled in laughter, as I had used the wrong word for “egg” (something like “phoung” no?). I’d said “poum” or something like it.
    When I repeated this conversation to a friend in Phnom Penh, he said I’d asked her for noodles without a fart.
    So, “Nam Poum” could be Fart Bread?

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