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 Samlor Mchou
Yellow Curry Paste


Although 'kroeung samlor mchou' is literally translated as spicy paste for sour soup, this prepared ingredient is the base of many other Khmer dishes such as grilled fish, stir-fries and kangkeb baob.

In some areas of Cambodia, this is known as yellow kroeung, which is also the base for other kroeungs. For example, to make red kroeung for chicken curries,  just add red chilli paste, coriander (cilantro)  seeds and kapi. To make green kroeung for samlor kako (I call it Khmer ratatouille) and the traditional Khmer noodle soup, you need to substitute lemon grass leaves for lemon grass stems, and  kcheay -  Khmer finger-roots for galangal.

If time and energy permit, remember that, in terms of taste and nutritional value, nothing can beat a kroeung that is made by you from fresh ingredients.

 Makes about 200g - for a dish with 4 - 6 servings

lemon grass stems, very thinly sliced
2 cm / 1 inch galangal, peeled, sliced and chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves or zest of ¼ kaffir lime
1 tbspoon peeled and chopped fresh turmeric
   (from 2 medium roots)
4 cloves garlic
shallots - peeled and chopped
1 tsp coarse salt

Real photo to come ...

1. If using a mortar and pestle, pound the hard ingredients first by following the order in the list above.  Put 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 so on ... until obtaining a smooth paste.

2. If using a food processor - I suggest using a small one if available, put the softer and watery ingredients in first, turn it on for a few seconds, then add the hard ingredients. You may want to add a tablespoon of water to help process it.

3. This paste can be kept refrigerated for a few days. Add a thin layer of oil on top of the kroeung to maintain its freshness.





Turmeric Bush

As making kroeung is time consuming, I would normally  make it in larger quantities using a grinder or food processor. It can be kept refrigerated for a few days; or in the freezer for up to 6 months. It would also be a good idea to wrap it up in small individual plastic bags - each enough for a single portion.

As you may know, similar kroeurngs produced in Thailand are available in major supermarkets or Asian food stores. Although I agree that they could be handy for many of us who work full time and lead a very busy lifestyle, I find some of them a bit too spicy and very salty - and some have added MSG.