Cack-handed Cambodian Curry

After watching Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey stop off in Cambodia on TV the other week, I was dying to make some of the spice pastes he was cooking up, and create a spicy, coconut curry. Having finally acquired a blender (it’s impossible to leave my cousin Angela’s house empty handed) and paying a visit to Taj Stores for ingredients, I set about putting together what I could remember from the show (hence the cack-handed part of the title).

While my approach hardly does justice to authentic Cambodian cuisine, the jist of Rick Stein’s discoveries seemed to be that simple, fragrant spices and a good splash of fish sauce were at the heart of the country’s cooking, so my half-remembered version at least hints at what he made. Either way, the zingy freshness of galangal, kafir lime leaves, ginger and garlic alongside salty fish sauce and rich coconut milk was really tasty.

I used turkey, cauliflower, carrots and red peppers in mine and served with rice noodles, but any meat/fish (I reckon fish would be especially good) and fresh, crunchy vegetables would work fine, and it would go equally well with rice.

Recipe after the jump….

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the paste:

1 inch piece of ginger, peeled

1 inch piece of galangal, peeled

1 stick of lemongrass, outer leaves removed

1 shallot

1 red chilli

2 cloves of garlic

1 kaffir lime leaf

2 tablespoons of fish sauce

2 tablespoons of neutral tasting oil (such as rapeseed or vegetable)

For the rest:

About 400g chicken/turkey/pork, cubed

A selection of crunchy veg such as cauliflower, broccoli, sweetcorn, peppers etc, chopped into bite-size pieces

1 spring onion, finely chopped

1 handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped

2 400ml cans of coconut milk

1 lime

Rice/noodles to serve


Roughly chop the paste ingredients into chunks the blender is able to handle without burning out (unless you have some shit-hot blender capable of blending even rocks) and blend to a smooth paste with the fish sauce and oil. Add a little water if it doesn’t seem to be liquidising enough.

Throw the paste into a hot wok and fry on a med-high heat for 5mins to cook the spices. Add the meat and cook for a further few mins to begin to brown. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer gently for 15-20mins. If you’re using fish, just add the coconut milk now and stir in the fish after 15mins of simmering.

Add veg and simmer for a further 5mins or so until it is cooked to al dente. Remove from the heat, stir in the coriander and serve each portion garnished with sliced spring onion and a wedge of lime.

One Response to “Cack-handed Cambodian Curry”

  1. Cambodian Curry-Round 2 « Feast on Scraps Says:

    […] adaptation that can be made to make another equally, if not more delicious dish. Writing about my cack-handed Cambodian curry yesterday left me with a hankering for something spicy so I returned to the recipe to see where I […]

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