June 3, 2023


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Cambodian Lemongrass Sour Soup

3 min read


  • 4.5 quart pot


Making the base involves cooking the prahok in oil over low heat until the moisture is gone, adding the turmeric, and continuing to stir until the paste is set and starts to peel away from the pot.

Cook beef by turning the heat up to medium, adding the meat, stirring, and cooking the meat until it is well charred. When the meat is tender, cover the pan and lower the heat after adding 1 cup of water. sometimes stir. To cook the meat to your liking, you might need to add extra broth and boil it for a longer period of time.

Prepare the water spinach by trimming and removing the old stems from the water spinach while the meat is cooking. Only a few leaves at the top should be left after removing the majority. After washing and straining, break the stems with a clever and cut them into two-inch pieces. Water spinach should have its stems and tips separated; the chopped stems should go into a big dish of cold water. Place aside.

Add Thai Eggplant – After the meat has finished cooking, turn the heat up to high and add the Thai eggplant. Cook the eggplant until it begins to welt.
Add the remaining water and the tamarind, then bring to a boil. Put tamarind in.
Note: To ensure that the veggies stay crisp, add the tamarind before adding the water spinach.
Vegetable addition: Stir in the water spinach stems before adding the tops, chilies, and spicy basil. Salt as desired. Avoid covering the pot.

Prahok is fermented fish paste from Cambodia. Prahok can most effectively be replaced with fish sauce or anchovy paste.
This soup can be made with a variety of various proteins, such as fatty beef trimmings, cow stomach and tripe, pig spare ribs, freshwater fish, or shrimp. My preferred combination is fish, preferably deboned, grilled fish that is added to the soup while the broth is heating up.

The soup gets sour and fruity overtones from tamarind paste that is ripe and concentrated. The green tamarind fruit, young tamarind leaves, tamarind blossoms, ambarella (kuntout) leaves, feroniella lucida (krawsankg) fruit, schleichera (pongro) berries, and even green mango all provide acidity to the soup in Cambodia. These sour fruits, berries, blossoms, leaves, and flowers each bring out a distinct flavor in the soup.

The choice of whatever sour ingredient to employ is frequently based on what is readily available at the time. Before the season ends, soup is frequently produced specifically for the flavor of a certain sort of sourness. The most popular recipe for the soup is made using ripe tamarind since it can be stored all year long, especially when cooked with beef.

In Cambodia, water spinach grows natural, is plentiful, and is accessible all year long. Water spinach thrives mostly beneath flood water in the rice fields or close to a lake during the monsoon season, when it is at its most sensitive and delectable. It grows like ground cover during the dry season, with short, sensitive tops that are densely loaded with sap and taste.

As a result, during the dry season, most cooks choose to use different vegetables in their soup, including kai choy or mustard greens. Along with the water spinach, other types of vegetables can be used to the soup. They consist of celery, jalapenos, Thai eggplants, and pearl eggplants. Reduce the prahok to one tablespoon if you must substitute veggies other than water spinach. Water spinach for some reason absorbs the prahok flavor, making the soup less flavorful.

Since hot basil (M’reas prouv), which has a scent similar to oregano but is less potent, may be substituted for it in recipes, use roughly 1/4 the amount of oregano instead. If you chance to have a BBQ when making the soup, you might add curry leaves (Sloek kontroap) by roasting them over hot charcoal. Roast the leaves for 10 minutes at 375°F in the oven for convenience. As you add the leaves to the soup, crush them with your hands.

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