Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat in Cambodia
the world's largest religious monument built in the 12th century
now a world heritage site
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Kroeung Kari Moan
Red Curry Paste



This 'kroeung'  is used for making kari moan (chicken curry), amok (Khmer spicy steamed fish) and prahok ktih (spicy coconut dip).

Turmeric lends its bright orange colour to this kroeung, and the dried red chillies give the resulting curry dish a deliciously beautiful look.

Sometimes, when I don't have dried red chillies, I substitute one teaspoon of paprika for every 2 dried red chillies. It works, but, the colour of the dish is not as exciting. 


Turmeric Bush



Makes 250g - for chicken curry,  4-6  servings


Lemon grass 6 stems[1], very thinly sliced
Galangal 2 cm / 1 inch , peeled, sliced and chopped
Kaffir lime leaves 5or zest of ¼ kaffir lime
Coriander / cilantro seeds 1 Tbsp, dry-fried
Dried large chillies[2]  6, seeded, soaked, finely chopped
Fresh turmeric 1 tbspoon peeled and chopped (from 2 medium roots) or 2 tsp of turmeric powder
Garlic 4 cloves
Shallots  4- peeled and chopped
Kapi / shrimp paste 2 tsp

Fresh Galangal Root


1. If using a mortar and pestle, pound the hard ingredients first by following the order in the list above - the dry and hard ones first.  Begin with the lemon grass in, pound it for about 30 seconds, then add galangal and continue to pound for about the same length of time, and repeat the same process with the rest of the ingredients ... until obtaining a smooth paste.

2. If using a food processor, put the softer and watery ingredients in first, turn it on for a few seconds, then add the hard ingredients such as lemon grass and galangal. You may need to add a tablespoon of water to help process it.

3. This paste can be kept refrigerated[3] for a few days, or frozen for up to 6 months.

[1] Trim off the hard part at the root end of the lemon grass. Remove outer layers of the stems. Use about 12cm / 5 inches of the thick part of the stems. To save time, frozen sliced lemon grass can now be bought in Asian food stores.

[2] Dried large red chillies can be bought in Thai / Chinese food stores - or can be substituted with dried California or New Mexican chillies if available.

[3] Before refrigerating it, add a thin layer of oil on top of the kroeung to maintain its freshness.