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Samlar Kako: Love at the First Bite

    Samlar Kako

    Samlar Kako (Samlor Korko or Samlor Korkor), a beloved traditional Cambodian dish, encapsulates the essence of Cambodian cuisine with its vibrant flavors and aromatic spices. Rooted in the country’s rich cultural heritage, this dish offers a tantalizing blend of vegetables, meat, and herbs, resulting in a heartwarming and delectable meal. Let’s embark on a culinary journey to discover the exquisite flavors of Samlar Kako.

    Why is Samlor Korko called Samlor Korko?

    In the Khmer language, “Samlar” translates to soup, while “Kako” signifies the action of blending or stirring. Consequently, “Samlar Kako” represents a harmoniously mixed soup that is prepared with a generous assortment of vegetables tailored to individual taste preferences. The traditional selection includes pumpkin, papaya, green banana, eggplant, and long beans; however, a variety of vegetables can be employed depending on availability.

    What is Samlar kako made of?


    Note: This recipe serves approximately 4-6 people.

    For the Green Kroeung:

    • 2 lemongrass stalks, chopped
    • 4-5 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
    • 3-4 cloves garlic
    • 1 thumb-sized piece of galangal, thinly sliced
    • 1 thumb-sized piece of turmeric, thinly sliced
    • 1 tablespoon fresh turmeric leaves (or use additional turmeric root)
    • 2-3 small shallots, chopped
    • 2-3 red or green chilies (adjust to your spice preference)
    • A pinch of salt

    For the Soup Base:

    • 4 cups water or fish stock
    • 2 tablespoons prahok (fermented fish paste)
    • 2 tablespoons roasted ground rice (Angkor Ling)
    • 1 tablespoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)
    • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
    • Salt to taste

    For the Main Ingredients:

    • 200g catfish fillets, cubed
    • 200g pork or chicken, thinly sliced
    • 2 cups mixed vegetables (long beans, eggplant, pumpkin), chopped
    • 1 cup green papaya, julienned
    • 1 cup moringa leaf


    1. Prepare the Green Kroeung:
      • Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, grind together all the ingredients for the green kroeung until a smooth paste is formed. Set aside.
    2. Incorporate the Kroeung
      • In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the kreung paste.
      • Stir the kreung paste continuously and fry it on medium heat for 3 minutes.
    3. Add Meat and Catfish:
      • Introduce the thinly sliced pork or chicken to the pot. Let it cook for a few minutes until it starts to change color.
      • Gently add the cubed catfish fillets. Allow them to cook until they turn opaque and flaky.
    4. Add Vegetables and Fruits:
      • Gradually add papaya, butternut squash, bitter eggplant, eggplant, and long beans. Mix them well.. Stir and let them simmer until they become tender yet retain their vibrancy.
      • Pour 5 cups of water into the pot and stir.
      • Mix in sugar, fish sauce, Prahok, and roasted ground rice.
    5. Adjust Seasoning and Consistency:
      • Stir in the moringa leaf
      • Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium/low.
      • Taste the soup and add salt or fish sauce if you want it more savory.
      • Let the soup simmer for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat.
    6. Serve and Garnish:
      • Serve the Samlar Kako over white steamed rice.
      • Feel free to use in-season vegetables and unripe fruit from a nearby market for this recipe

    Savoring Tradition: One Spoonful at a Time

    Samlar Kako captures the essence of Cambodian culinary tradition, where fresh ingredients are carefully selected to create a harmonious blend of textures and flavors. This dish not only celebrates Cambodia’s vibrant food culture but also reflects the interconnectedness of its people and the land.

    Let’s check: Best Cambodian Foods You Must Try

    As you take a spoonful of this delightful Samlar Kako, you embark on a sensory journey through Cambodian traditions, offering a taste of warmth, community, and the timeless art of culinary mastery.

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