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Cambodian Curry Paste: Traditional Khmer Cuisine

January 13, 2024 - 1091 views

Cambodian curry, known as "Kari" in Khmer, is a delectable culinary delight that reflects the rich tapestry of Cambodian cuisine. At the heart of it is the flavorful spicy Kroeung, Cambodian curry paste.

In this article, let’s discover the most common types of Kroeung and some suggestions for the best dishes cooked with this paste.

Cambodian Curry Paste: Traditional Khmer Cuisine

These pastes are meticulously crafted from a combination of ingredients such as lemongrass, turmeric, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, and more. Especially, coconut milk is a signature element in Cambodian curry, contributing a velvety texture and luscious creaminess to the dishes. It balances the spices, creating a delicate harmony between the robust flavors and the soothing coconut undertones.

 

Types of Cambodian Curry Paste

Red Kroeung

Red Kroeung is a versatile paste that can be used in various Cambodian dishes, such as curries, stews, soups, or marinades for meats and seafood. Its sweet, fleshy, fatty, and attractive taste will make you love this dish. But keep in mind that this paste is quite potent, so adjust the amount you use based on your preferred level of spiciness and intensity of flavor.

Best Use For: Soups, stir-fries, and marinades.

Ingredients

  • Cumin seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  • Lemongrass
  • Galangal
  • Kaffir Lime Zest
  • Turmeric
  • Shallots
  • Dried Red Chili
  • Garlic
  • Shrimp Paste (Kapi)

Red Kroeung

Red Kroeung

Instruction

  • Step 1: Soak the dried red chili peppers in hot water for about 15 - 20 minutes until they become soft.
  • Step 2: Prepare and finely chop the fresh ingredients into small pieces.
  • Step 3: In a a food processor, process the chopped ingredients until a smooth paste forms (You may need to add a little vegetable oil to help with the blending and create a smoother consistency)
  • Step 4: Add the shrimp paste and mix everything together. Your Red Kroeung is now ready to use!

 

Yellow Kroeung

Yellow Kroeung is a vibrant spice paste that adds a burst of flavor to traditional Cambodian dishes. It derives its name from the vibrant turmeric, which forms the foundation of this spice paste. Lemongrass, with its citrusy and refreshing fragrance, also lends a zesty and bright character to the spice paste.

Best Use For: It is often used as a sauce for street snacks, such as charcoal-grilled beef skewers, and in Prahok K'tis.

Ingredients

  • Lemongrass
  • Turmeric
  • Galangal
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Dried Red Chili
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Kaffir Lime Zest

Yellow Kroeung

Yellow Kroeung

Instruction

  • Step 1: Clean and prepare all the fresh ingredients.
  • Step 2: Finely chop the fresh ingredients. If you're using fresh turmeric and galangal, ensure they are sliced into small pieces for easier blending.
  • Step 3: Blend all ingredients into a smooth paste. The finished product mix is Yellow Kroeung.

 

Green Kroeung

Green Kroeung is an aromatic spice paste that adds a touch of elegance to traditional Cambodian dishes. The usual ingredients for green kroeung are lemongrass, so dishes prepared with green kroeung will have a distinctive smell. Its fresh and vibrant flavors enliven soups and stir-fries, elevating the dining experience to new heights.

Ingredients

  • Lemongrass
  • Kaffir Lime Peel
  • Galangal
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Green Chili
  • Cilantro
  • White pepper /Black pepper
  • Ground Coriander Seeds
  • Ground Cumin Seeds
  • Basil Leaves

Green Kroeung

Green Kroeung

Instruction

  • Step 1: Clean, prepare, and chop all the fresh ingredients. 
  • Step 2: Grind or process the mixture until it forms a smooth green-hued paste. If you prefer a milder paste, you can remove the seeds from the green chili peppers before grinding.

 

What Food Should Be Cooked With Kroeung

Here are some typical dishes made from Kroeung that you may not have known:

  • Sach Ko Ang

Also known as Cambodian beef skewers, is a street food sensation that enchants locals and tourists alike. These tender beef skewers boast a characteristic yellow hue, owing to the inclusion of the aromatic Yellow Kroeung spice paste.

Savored with pickled vegetables, Sach Ko Ang is a classic late afternoon or early evening snack that embodies the vibrant street food culture in Cambodia.

  • Samla Num Banh Chok

A culinary gem that can be easily found in the bustling streets of Phnom Penh City. Samla Num Banh Chok entices with its attractive green curry-scented broth, crispy cowpeas and lotus roots, and the spiciness of chili peppers. It's a noodle sensation that leaves a lasting impression.

  • Somlar Kari Saek Mouan:

Also known as Cambodian Chicken Red Curry, is a flavorful dish that incorporates the essence of Red Kroeung spice paste.

This curry brings together succulent chicken, creamy coconut milk, eggplant, potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, and the robust flavors of Red Kroeung. Similar to Thai red curry but milder in spiciness, this dish is a true celebration of Cambodian gastronomy.


In conclusion, Cambodian curry stands as a testament to the artistry and passion of Khmer cuisine. With its aromatic spices, tantalizing flavors, and colorful variety, it encapsulates the heart and soul of Cambodia's culinary traditions. Hope the above information will be helpful to you. Let's go with BestPrice Travel to explore Khmer cuisine and much more!

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