Eel with Preserved Bean Curd Hot Pot

November 7, 2022  Cambodian Chef Avatar
Eel with Preserved Bean Curd Hot Pot

Eel with Preserved Bean Curd Hot Pot is a cherished dish among Cambodians, particularly favored by Khmer men as an appetizer, known as “mahope sar.” The twice-cooked eel with preserved bean curd hot pot is equally enjoyed by women, who often pair it with rice or rice noodles. In Cambodia, this dish traditionally features fresh water eel due to its abundance, favorable taste, and affordability. Interestingly, fresh water eels have unique characteristics, such as their ability to travel on land like snakes when their habitat dries up. Eels typically travel in groups at night or early morning and can endure months without water or food. Moreover, they undergo a sex change as they age, transitioning from females to males.

For the preparation of this hot pot, the ingredients include eel, vegetable oil, garlic, yellow onion, taro root, chicken broth, water or beer, preserved bean curd (jao), sugar, fish sauce, black pepper, green onion, and Asian water spinach. The eel is cleaned and cut into 5-inch lengths before being pan-fried until golden brown. In a separate pan, garlic, onion, and taro root are sautéed. The hot pot is assembled by combining chicken broth, water, taro root, and eel in a large soup pot, cooking until the taro root becomes tender.

The unique flavor of the hot pot is enhanced by a sauce made from hot bean curd mixed with sugar, fish sauce, and black pepper. This sauce is added to the soup, creating a savory and rich broth. The dish is served hot with raw Asian water spinach, rice, or rice noodles, accompanied by sweet fish sauce for dipping. Traditionally, the hot pot is placed on a portable burner at the center of the dinner table, allowing each person to take raw Asian water spinach and dip it into the hot soup as they enjoy the meal.

Eel with Preserved Bean Curd Hot Pot encapsulates the cultural significance of communal dining in Cambodia, where sharing a flavorful and hearty meal is a cherished tradition. The unique characteristics of the eel and the rich combination of ingredients contribute to the authenticity and appeal of this beloved Khmer dish.


2 Eel ,or 1 Package cleaned frozen eels (sold in frozen section at most Asian markets)
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
4 cups of already cut to cubes taro root
2 canned, 16 oz or 460 gram of chicken broth
1 cup of water or beer
5 pieces preserved bean curd (jao)
1/2 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
Dash of black pepper
2 stalks of green onion, chopped
2 lbs (900 gram) of Asian water spinach, removed roots, washed and drained

Directions to make Eel with Preserved Bean Curd Hot Pot

  1. Cleaned and cut eel to 5 inches length, dabs with paper towel to dry off excessive water.
  2. Heat up a frying pan.
  3. When the frying pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons oil, add eel, pan-fry eel till both side golden brown, removed eel from heat and set a side.
  4. Pour remaining oil to the same frying pan, add garlic, onion and taro root, stirs, removed it from heat and set it a side.
  5. Put chicken broth and water in a large soup pot, cook till water bubbling, add prepare tarot root and eel to boiling broth, cook till taro root tender.
  6. In a small bowl, mix hot bean curd with sugar, fish sauce and black pepper.
  7. Seasoning soup with prepared bean curd sauce, stirs well and top with green onion.
  8. Serve hot with raw Asian water spinach, rice or rice noodle and sweet fish sauce.


Place the portable burner (either electrical or with coals) at the center of dinner table then put soup pot on top of hot burner. Usually each person would take some raw Asian water spinach and dips into hot soup when they eat.

Enjoy it

Related Recipe: Stuffed Boneless Fish Hot Pot

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 3

Calories Per Serving: 848

% Daily Value
Total Carbohydrate ‏79g 29%
Cholesterol ‏171mg 57%
Total Fat ‏38g 49%
Saturated Fat ‏7g 35%
Dietary Fiber ‏14g 50%
Protein ‏48g 96%
Sodium ‏1838mg 80%
Sugars ‏17g 34%


30 min


30 min




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