Khmer yellow kroeung is an essential & versatile Cambodian herb & spice paste that we will show you how to make so that you can use it to make a delicious vegan Khmer curry. If you want to cook your own Cambodian food, then learning how to make yellow kroeung is essential as it forms the base for many dishes. Used as a marinade, in soups, stir fries and curries it is simple to make, extremely versatile and packed full of fragrant flavours. Khmer cuisine is not as well known as other Southeast Asian cuisines. We all have our Thai and Vietnamese favourites, but you’ll rarely find a Cambodian dish on a restaurant menu anywhere outside of Cambodia. Which is a shame, because Cambodian food is delicious. We hope you enjoy our delicious vegan Khmer curry recipe.
This recipe is featured in an excellent free vegan cook book that we created as part of Travelling in a new vegan world during Veganuary 2021. Alongside a group of vegan travel agents and bloggers we delivered a series of online seminars featuring vegan travel around the world. Join the group and look out for future webinars and presentations that will help you plan your next vegan travel adventure. Please leave a comment below if you would like a copy of the free vegan cook book.
Shopping at Phsar Chas
Most of the ingredients needed are easily found in your local market or international food store. Price and quality will of course differ depending on location, but with a little research, nothing on the list should break the bank! We are blessed to have a number of local markets close to us in Siem Reap but our favourite is Phsar Chas in the centre of town. Many tourists (and even some expats) don’t even venture inside, but just browse the various tourist facing stalls that are positioned around the perimeter. But it’s inside that the real magic happens, food stalls and carts where you can even find some accidentally vegan Khmer street food and multiple stalls selling fresh fruits and vegetables. We’ve got our favourite sellers who are patient enough to understand our relatively poor grasp of the local langauge, and always willing to help find whatever it is that we need.
Below are the lists of ingredients that you will need to make the kroueng and also the curry. We’ve cooked it recently using the exact masurements and it worked very well. To make things easier you could make the kroueng a day or two before and keep it refridgerated in a sealed jar, it takes more effort to make the kroueng than the curry so this certainly makes for an easy dinner on the day that you decide to cook the curry!
4 Lemongrass Stalks – remove outer layers and chop
40g Turmeric – peeled and chopped finely
10g Galangal – peeled and chopped finely
2 Kaffir Lime Leaves – remove central stalk and tear
3 Garlic Cloves – peeled and chopped finely
3 Shallots – peeled and chopped finely
Khmer Vegan Yellow Kroeung – as above
1 Can of Coconut Milk
500ml Vegetable Stock
2 tablespoons of Vegan Fish Sauce (or Light Soy Sauce)
1 tablespoons of Brown Sugar
100g Pumpkin – cubed
200g Firm Tofu – cubed
100g Cauliflower – florets
100g Broccoli – florets
100g Green Beans – chopped and trimmed
As mentioned above, making the kroueng the day before is possible. Also, the kroueng ingredients can be mixed using a blender if you wish, although a pestle and mortar is the traditional method of preparation. You may also wish to strain the curry before adding the vegetables, tofu and coconut milk for an extra smooth sauce, this will remove any of the fibres remaining in the paste. If you do this, make sure to cook the vegetable stock, vegan fish sauce (or light soy sauce) and brown sugar with the kroueng for an extra 5-6 minutes to ensure the flavours are combined. Once strained, add back to the pan with the remaining ingredients and cook as per instructions.
Using a pestle and mortar, pound the lemongrass until it’s all mashed up
Add the turmeric, galangal and kaffir lime leaves to the pestle
Continue to pound with the mortar until all ingredients are combined
Add the garlic and shallots to the pestle
Continue to pound until you have a smooth paste, with just some lemongrass fibres remaining
Gently fry the Khmer Yellow Kroeung in a little vegetable oil
Add the vegetable stock, vegan fish sauce (or light soy sauce) and brown sugar
Bring all ingredients slowly to the boil, add the pumpkin and simmer for 6-7 minutes
Add tofu and other vegetables, simmering for a further 2-3 minutes
Finally, add the coconut milk and simmer for a further 3-4 minutes, seasoning with salt to taste
Serve with Jasmine rice or your favourite rice (ours is from IBIS Rice, local organic and animal friendly)
We hope you enjoy your vegan Khmer curry!
We hope you enjoyed these Khmer recipes, they use only a few ingredients which makes them simple to prepare, yet delicious and full of flavour. You can substitute any of the vegetables for your own favourites, and change the tofu for tempeh if you wish. Tempeh is not traditionally used in Cambodia, but it is available and offers an exciting alternative to tofu. Adding chopped, fresh chillies will add some spice to the dish if required.
Check out our other Cambodia vegan travel blog posts