How To Make Cambodian Khmer Curry for Chicken Seafood or Beef Recipe and Ingredients

Pestle and Mortar: Traditional Grinding Tool
Pestle and Mortar: Traditional Grinding Tool | Source

Curry

One of the most enjoyed dishes in Cambodia, Southeast Asia, India, and all over the world, is Curry. Curry has a very distinct aroma and taste.

You can season Pork, Chicken, Beef, Seafood or Lamb with Curry, and these recipes are easy to make and don't take up a lot of your time!

So let's explore how to make various Curries!

We will start with a basic recipe: Curry Paste.

Called Kroeunng in Cambodian, this paste is enjoyed by many cultures in Southeast Asia. It can be used to flavor meats and can even be added to a Stir-Fry. This paste also keeps fresh in a freezer for several months. Let's take a look at the Ingredients and recipe:


Khmer (Cambodian) Curry Paste Ingredients

Ingredient
Amount
How To Prepare
Cooking Oil (Olive Oil is my favoriite but you can use any other cooking oil.)
3 Tablespoons
 
Galangal Root
2 in (5 cm)
Peel and Slice into shreds
Tumeric Root
2 in (5 cm)
Peel and Slice into shreds
Krachai*
2 in (5 cm)
*(6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped may be used as a substitute, but will taste different)
Lemmongrass
3 Stalks
Use the tender inner-part only and Chop Finely
Small Red Shallots
4
Peeled and Chopped
Kaffir Lime Leaves
10
Slice Finely
Fish Paste (prahok, pro hok)
2 Teaspoons
Finely Chopped
  • Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over low-medium heat. (I prefer using a cast iron skillet as it introduces iron into the diet and adds flavor to the food.)

  • Add all the ingredients and fry until golden brown, stir slowly and consistently.

  • Transfer the mixture into a mortar (traditional) or Food Processor.

  • Crush and blend until the consistency turns into a smooth paste.

  • This recipe makes about 1 cup (250 g)

That's it!

You have now created a delicious Curry Paste that will amaze your family and friends!

Jong Yam~

(Let's Eat!)


Chicken Curry with Sorrel Leaves Recipe

Now that we know the basics to making Curry Paste, let's expand our knowledge and make a delicious Chicken Curry Dish!

  • Serves 4

  • Preparation time: 20-30 minutes (not including time for preparing Curry Paste-see recipe above)

  • Cooking Time: 1 Hour and 10 Minutes

Chicken Curry Ingredients and Recipe

Ingredient
Amount
How To Prepare
Cooking Oil (I prefer to use olive oil but any cooking oil will do.)
3 Tablespoons
 
Chicken
1 whole, about 21/2 lbs (1.25 kg)
Cut into medium-sized pieces. (You can use pre-cut chicken as well)
Khmer Curry Paste* (See recipe above)
5 Tablespoons
*See recipe above for directions
Palm Sugar or Dark Brown Sugar
1 heaping tablespoon
 
Fish Sauce
3 tablespoons
 
Cococnut Milk
1 Cup (250 ml)
 
Uncooked Jasmine Rice
5 tablespoons
Toast in a frying pan and then grind into a fine powder.
Sorrel Leaves* (siok chou)
2 Bunches
*(You can replace ingredient with 1 bunch of spinach, chopped finely, and add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice) Chop Sorrel Leaves finely chopped
Water
Enough to simmer for 45 minutes
 
White Rice
An amount suitable for 4 people
 
  • Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat (I use a cast iron skillet for added iron and taste).

  • Brown chicken pieces in oil.

  • Add Curry Paste

  • Add Sugar and Fish Sauce and cook for 5 minutes, stirring lightly.

  • Add a little water to moisten the ingredients.

  • Allow to simmer for 45 minutes or until chicken pieces are tender.

  • Add the Coconut Milk and Toasted Rice and cook for additional 5 minutes.

  • Add the Sorrel (or Spinach with lemon juice) Leaves and serve immediately over, or with White Rice.

That's it!

You're done!


Chanang Tay! (Delicious!)


Traditional Khmer Curry Recipe: Seafood or Meat Dish

Traditional Khmer Curry is a favorite among Cambodians! This dish is found at all ceremonial occasions and is an important tradition in this Asian Culture.

This dish is distinct for Cambodians because of the use of Sweet Potatoes. Cambodian Chili Peppers are not as spicy as are those from America and the USA. Use discretion when adding chili peppers!

This dish:

  • Serves 4

  • Has a preparation time of 1 hour and 10 minutes (does not include time to prepare Curry Paste. *See recipe at the top of this page.)

  • Has a cooking time of 45 minutes

  • *Can be made as a Seafood Dish or with Chicken or Beef. Note Ingredients below:

Traditional Khmer Curry Ingredients and Recipe

Ingredient
Amount
How To Prepare
Cooking Oil (I prefer Olive Oil but any cooking oil will do.)
1/4 Cup (60 ml)
 
Annotto Seeds (*optional)
2 tablespoons
*Annotto seeds are used as a natural food coloring. Soaked in warm water or fried in oil, then discarded
*Firm White Fish Fillets (Sea Bass, Haddok, Cod, Perch or Talapia are best) Instead of Meat
1 lb. (500 g)
Cut into large chunks
*Chicken or Beef instead of Fish
1 lb. (500 g)
Cut into large chunks
Fresh Kaffir Lime Leaves
5 (10 if using dried leaves)
*Dried leaves may be substituted
Carrots
2
Peeled and sliced into rounds
Sweet Potato
1
Peeled and Sliced
Onion
1
Peeled and Quartered
Fish Sauce
4 tablespoons
 
Palm Sugar or Dark Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon
 
Fresh Green Beans
3/4 Cup (100 g)
Trim ends and cut into 1 1/2 in (4 cm) pieces
Asian Eggplant
1 slender
Sliced
Coconut Milk
2 Cups (500 ml)
 


Now we have to make the Spice Paste. Let's look at the ingredients for the paste:


Ingredients for the Spice Paste

Ingredient
Amount
How To Prepare
Star Anise Pods
4
 
Coriander Seeds
1 teaspoon
 
Dried Red (finger-length) Chili Peppers
1 1/4 cups (25 g)
Soak in water for 20 minutes, drain, de-seed, and slice
Dried Shrimp Paste
1 teaspoon
 
*Khmer Curry Paste
 
*See Recipe on top of this page
  • To make the Spice Paste, combine the Star Anise and Coriander Seeds in a small wok or skillet (I prefer a cast iron skillet) and toast them over medium heat until they release their fragrance.

  • Transfer the mix to a mortar and grind with a pestle into a fine powder. (A food-processor may be used instead but it may not powder finely. You could always crush in a bowl with a wooden spoon or some other object.)

  • Add the Soaked Chilies, Dried Shrimp Paste, and the Khmer Curry Paste *(from recipe at the top of this page)

  • Pound (or process) into a Fine Paste

The Spice Paste is now complete. Let's move on to the next steps for cooking this dish:

  • Heat the Oil in a wok or skillet over a medium heat (as I have mentioned, I prefer a cast iron skillet for its flavor and health benefits).
  • Add the Annatto Seeds.
  • When oil begins to smoke and the color changes to a red color, strain it and return the red oil to the skillet; discard the seeds.
  • Heat the Red Oil over medium-high heat and cook the Fish or Meat *(whichever dish you are making) until cooked through.
  • Remove Fish or Meat and drain on a paper towels.
  • Add the Spice Paste to the skillet and fry until lightly browned and is fragrant.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add the Kaffir Lime Leaves , Carrots, Sweet Potato, Onion, Fish Sauce and Sugar.
  • Mix well and add a little water t moisten.
  • Stir-fry for 10 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender.
  • Add Green Beans, Eggplant and the Fish or Meat and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the Coconut Milk and bring to a boil.
  • Check seasoning; add more Fish Sauce or Sugar to taste.
  • Remove Dried Kaffir Lime Leaves.
  • Serve Immediately!

Follow The Cooking the Khmer Way Series!

This is the third installment of a series of articles on Khmer Cambodian Cooking: Cooking The Khmer Way! These are not the only dishes in Khmer Cooking that use Curry but they are the most basic and the most popular among Cambodians.

There are many more recipes to come, so keep your eyes open for more delicious, inexpensive, and fun recipes that will delight your tongue and impress your friends and family!


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Comments 34 comments

chanroth profile image

chanroth 5 years ago from California, USA

Thank you very big much uncle Matt! That's the way I cook it too! Oh, try it with turkey, its good too! Dip in with bread. Delicious! Today I cook Som lor pro her, using coconut milk. I don't know what it call in English. Thanks! :)


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hi Chan! Thanks for stopping by! I never thought to use Turkey as one of the meats, but it sounds delicious! I'll have to ask my wife to translate that one. Thanks for commenting again!

JSMatthew~


writer20 profile image

writer20 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

Thanks for the recipes.

When living in England I had an indian friend

originally from Singapore. He cooked curries and would always make mine the less HEAT which I always appreciate and they were always delicious.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Very true writer20! These recipes are made to be quick but it's true that traditionally, these cooking methods are often done slowly and on a low heat. It helps to mingle the flavors. Thanks for your insightful comment!

JSMatthew~


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Oh my - delicious. Wish that was a button too! I am now keeping a package of chicken in the fridge just waiting for one of your recipes. Thanks for sharing!


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

That's pretty cool Truckstop Sally! I'll try to post another chicken recipe soon, hopefully tomorrow. Having a "delicious" button would be cool too! Thanks for the comment and keep your eyes peeled for the next recipe!

JSMatthew~


Alladream74 profile image

Alladream74 5 years ago from Oakland, California

These look very interesting.Definitely marking this one for future reference.Thank you


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Truckstop Sally: Here's the link to the new Chicken Hub: http://hubpages.com/food/Honey-Glazed-Chicken-Reci... I hope you enjoy it!

JSMatthew~


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Alladream: Thanks for the comment! Let me know what you think when you try this!

JSMatthew~


Binaya.Ghimire 5 years ago

What ever we eat for lunch or dinner curry is always cooked in my home. I'm giving this recipe to my mother so that I can try this with rice tomorrow.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thanks Binaya! Please let me know how you like it!

JSMatthew~


Binaya.Ghimire 5 years ago

Wow, it is really good.


HERBCYCLOPEDIA profile image

HERBCYCLOPEDIA 5 years ago

@ J.S. Matthew:

Nice hub. Did you know that curcumin, a compound extracted from the rhizome of Curcuma Longa is the pigment responsible for the yellow color of Indian curry and that it has, as many other polyphenol compounds, a preventive function against brain ageing and neurodegenerative disorders as Alzheimer's disease.

This is one of the reasons why it is believed that in India Alzheimer's disease rates are so low in comparison with other countries (due to the high intake of curry in that country), it is indeed the lowest Alzheimer's disease rate over the world.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

That's great that you enjoyed it Binaya! Is the taste similar to the curry you usually eat?

JSMatthew~


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

HERBCYCLOPEDIA I appreciate you adding this useful information to this Hub! I never knew that India had a lower rate of Alzheimer's. That is so interesting. I appreciate you stopping by!

JSMatthew~


Dinesh nair 5 years ago

Dear Mathew,

that is really nice list of preparations i will definitely try it out actually cooking is on passionate hobby of mine i really could not do it for a long years together. but definitely i will do it the next available opportunity and give you a feed back. very nice hub voted up


VENZKHVAM profile image

VENZKHVAM 5 years ago from Milk way galaxy, trying to find a more adventurous place in another galaxy with my great followers

Dear Mathew,

I had done the earlier comment with out logging in.that is really nice list of preparations i will definitely try it out actually cooking is on passionate hobby of mine i really could not do it for a long years together. but definitely i will do it the next available opportunity and give you a feed back. very nice hub voted up


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Dinesh nair/VENZKHVAM I appreciate you reading and leaving a comment and I do hope that you try this recipe and let me know what you think!

JSMatthew~


chablis345 profile image

chablis345 5 years ago from Berkshire

Hi Matthew - your recipies sound delicious - just one thing, I am from England - what is a Galangal root - is it the same as root ginger and if not where would I get it from?


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hello chablis245! Galangal root is not native to Europe or the US but can usually be found in Asian Stores. Here is a link to Wikipedia to give you a better understanding: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galangal

If you can't find it locally you can always order it online. I hope that this answers your question and I appreciate you reading and leaving a comment!

JSMatthew~


icciev profile image

icciev 5 years ago from Kuwait

thanks for the list of interesting recipes you have provided, voted up


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

icciev I appreciate all of your comments! Thanks again for stopping by and voting!

JSMatthew~


tamarindcandy profile image

tamarindcandy 5 years ago

Always love these recipe hubs, thank you!


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

I always love your comments tamarindcandy! Thanks again for stopping by!

JSMatthew~


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 4 years ago from Sacramento, California

Hello JS: This is really a great resource for many people who have not experienced the thrill of curry. I have always found cooking with curry to be fairly easy but I remember being intimidated by incorporating foods different then my normal ingredients into foods that I knew how to cook. I would advise people who read this article to actually try these recipes and you will find that the ingredients become very second nature rather quickly. One of the greatest benefits of expanding our cultural cooking list is the idea of how to improve recipes we already love. Votes up and shared.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago

It's interesting to see how curry is made in different parts of the SEA. In Singapore, we would blend the fresh ingredients first and then fry it in oil until fragrant. I see you guys have it the other way round. Thanks for sharing--your curry must be interesting.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@davenmidtown: It really is easy. The funny thing is that I don't care for some of the ingredients by themselves but together they are delightful! I had Curry on New Years Day at my wife's aunt's house and it was good. I wish I ate it more! I only eat it about4 times a year but not really sure why? Curry is probably my favorite dish from Asia and I prefer mine spicy, although usually Khmer people keep it mild (which is weird because they like to spice Everything up!) I appreciate your comment Dave! Thanks for reading.

JSMatthew~


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@anglnwu: Hello! It is interesting how different yet similar recipes and cooking methods are in a particular region. The first time I tried curry was in Montreal, Canada at a restaurant called "Au Tarrot". It was an Indian restaurant and I had curried lamb. It was very good and a bit spicy (and expensive!) Although I really enjoyed it, my companion didn't like it at all. I think that the curry from this region (Cambodia, etc) tends to be more mild. Thanks for commenting!

JSMatthew~


L.L. Woodard profile image

L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City

I think finding some of the ingredients for the recipes may be a little tricky, but definitely want to give them a go.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hello L.L. Woodard! If there is an Asian Supermarket or specialty store near you, you should be able to find everything you need. I know some things can also be purchased online but that won't work for fresh vegetables! I do hope that you can find all the ingredients and are able to try this. If you do please come back and give me your feedback! Thanks for stopping by!

JSMatthew~


jerrysaliu profile image

jerrysaliu 4 years ago from Warri, Nigeria

This is so well explained. Thumbs Up


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thanks jerrysaliu! I appreciate that very much. I try to make my recipe Hubs easy to read and follow and well organized. Thanks for stopping by!

JSMatthew~


nurul 4 years ago

Love your blog! Very informative. I live in Cambodia currently and absolutely love it here!


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hi nurul! I don't know how I missed your comment so many months back but thanks for stopping by! It's always great to meet Cambodians on the web! Feel free to check out my many other Khmer recipes!

JSMatthew~

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