November 24, 2023

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Cambodian chicken curry​​ 

2 min read

Ingredients: 2 kg mature chicken optional: chicken gizzard & feet 1 pkg pork blood 3 tbsp shrimp paste 2 tbsp chicken mix 1 tbsp salt 1 small can red curry paste 1 large cinnamon stick 10 star anise 8 kaffir lime leaves 1/2 cup palm sugar or white 1/2 cup fish sauce 1 cup kreung (lemongrass paste) 1 cup of shallots 4 cans coconut milk (use 1 can for frying) 8 white onion 2 large carrots 4 purple skin poatato 1 1/2 cup of sundriend large red peppers

One of Southeast Asia’s most hearty chicken curries may be made with this Cambodian recipe for chicken curry. While it has a richness from the liberal use of coconut cream and milk and a tenderness from the mild red chilies, its depth of flavor derives from dried spices and fresh fragrant herbs.

I recently had Cambodian chicken curry when Terence texted me to ask what I wanted for supper while I awaited my aircraft from Hanoi to Siem Reap. Don’t get me wrong, I love Vietnamese food, but after three weeks of conducting my culinary and culture trip in Vietnam, I was in the need for a Cambodian chicken curry. I was in the mood for spice, but I wasn’t quite ready for the heat of a Thai curry.

Even though all those greens were delicious, after spending a few weeks in Vietnam chowing down on clear soups flavored with fragrant herbs, wrapping crunchy lettuce around smoky grilled pork, and stuffing crunchy sprouts and fragrant herbs into fried turmeric pancakes, I craved comfort food. A mild Cambodian chicken curry was the first to enter my mind.

As far as I was concerned, it would be the best welcome back to our adopted home of Siem Reap, as it was a Cambodian chicken curry that we had tried on our first trip to Temple Town many years ago that had made me fall madly in love with Cambodian food and sparked my, possibly slightly insane, obsession with exploring its culinary history.

We had travelled to Cambodia for an article on Siem Reap’s fashionable hotels, boutiques, restaurants, cafés, and bars for a Thai airline’s in-flight magazine while living in Bangkok at the time. We had been writing about restaurants and Thai food in Bangkok for around thirty years at the time. I had been eating Thai food since I was in my late teens.

That meant thirty years eating Thai curries, with around ten of those eating the frequently mouth-numbing, sweat-inducing, fire-breathing curries that Terence made from David Thompson’s Thai Food. While I like Thai cuisine too, and particularly the Thai food that Terence makes from David Thompson’s recipes, occasionally I don’t always want to perspire over my dinner.

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