A Deliciously Tasty Cambodian Soup Recipe

Cambodian soup, also called Samlor Korko, is one of the most authentic Cambodian dishes enjoyed by millions of families across the globe. Containing ingredients readily available in most stores, you can prepare it at home and enjoy this nourishing meal. What is the Cambodian soup recipe? This guide explains how to prepare it.

Cambodian Soup Recipe

The ingredients you will need for our delicious soup include the following.

  • 3 stalks lemongrass
  • 5 leaves lime tree leaf
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 2 inches galangal knob
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon prahok paste
  • 1/4 cup white rice
  • 1/3 butternut squash (cut into tiny pieces)
  • 1 lb fish or chicken (cut into chunks)
  • 1 lb long beans (sliced)
  • 1 cup bitter eggplant
  • 1/2 teaspoon MSG
  • 1 small unripe papaya (julienne cuts). Papaya can be substituted with carrots as they both have the same texture and sweetness
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 cup moringa leaves
  • 2 tsp palm sugar
  • 1 eggplant
  • 5 cups of water
  • I tbsp cooking oil

Some ingredients, like green bananas and jackfruit, are optional.


There are a few preparation stages involved.

Cooking Instructions for the Khmer Curry Paste

  1. Cut the lemongrass into tiny pieces and place them inside a mortar
  2. Add the chili pepper and four garlic cloves to the mortar
  3. Peel the galangal and cut it into tiny pieces, then add it as well
  4. Add shredded lime tree leaves, thinly sliced turmeric, and salt into the mortar, then crush and mix everything to a paste.

Ground Rice Preparation Instruction

  1. Heat your frying pan over high heat and add rice (don’t use oil)
  2. Stir the rice from time to time until you get a nice brown color
  3. Remove it from the heat, pour in a mortar, and crush it into a powder using a pestle.

Soup Preparation Instructions

  1. Place a large pot over high heat and add one tablespoon of cooking oil, then add your kreung paste and reduce heat to medium.
  2. Fry the paste for three minutes while stirring continuously
  3. Add your meat to the pot and keep stirring until its fully coated with the paste
  4. Add the butternut squash, papaya, long beans, eggplant, and bitter eggplant to the pot and mix everything
  5. Add the five cups of water and stir
  6. Add the MSG, prahok, fish sauce, sugar, and ground rice to the pot and stir, then add the moringa leaves.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium or low
  8. You can taste the soup and add fish sauce or salt if you prefer
  9. Allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes, then turn the heat off

What Is Prahok and What if I Can’t Find It?

Prahok is fermented fish paste originating from Cambodia. As BBC reports, this is an essential ingredient in Cambodian cuisine, including the famous soup. However, finding it outside Cambodia can be difficult, and most chefs have to prepare their own.

This paste tastes salty and has a distinct smell. When consumed alone, it can be quite intense. But when consumed with different meals, such as soup, it adds a savory flavor to your broth.

If you want to prepare the soup, look for prahok in Asian supermarkets and grocery stores near you. If you can’t find it, fish sauce or anchovy paste will do. However, avoid Pla-ra, a Thai fermented fish paste. It has a different taste than prahok.

How Do You Store Leftover Cambodian Soup?

Store leftover Cambodian soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can last between three to four days.

To reheat it, pour the soup into a pot and warm it over low heat. If the soup is too thick, add broth or water to thin it out. We don’t recommend freezing the soup because it contains vegetables that will turn mushy once you thaw it.

Substitutions for the Cambodian Soup Recipe

Some of the items you’ll need may not be available in the grocery store. You have the option to use other ingredients.

For instance, you can replace beef with pork or fish. If you can’t find lemongrass, use lemon zest and replace galangal with ginger. Also, to add more flavor, consider using broth instead of water.

Tips and Tricks for Creating Cambodian Soup

As you can see, this recipe involves a lot of ingredients and preparation. Before you start heating anything, prepare the ingredients first. That means dicing or chopping whatever needs to be cut and putting everything you need on the counter. This soup comes together quite fast, and preparing everything beforehand will make cooking much easier.

It’s also best to use homemade broth instead of water or store-bought. A good broth sets a great foundation for any soup, including this one.

You may also want to add the fish sauce at the end. Because it’s quite flavorful, you want to ensure you don’t add too much of it and make the soup unnecessarily sour. Lastly, top the soup with chili flakes or herbs before serving. They will add color and flavor to the soup.

Don’t worry about preparing the ground rice. If you find the task difficult, you can source already-ground rice from an Asian supermarket near you.

How to Serve Cambodian Soup Recipe

You can serve Cambodian soup with various things. The most common include the following:

  • Steamed rice: The soup is usually served with steamed rice. A combination of both gives you a richly textured meal.
  • Mango sticky rice: You can serve this for dessert. The sweet, creamy rice pairs well with the flavorful soup.
  • Spring rolls: For an appetizer, get some fresh spring rolls and enjoy them with the soup.

Is There a Vegan or Vegetarian Option for Cambodian Soup?

If you want to enjoy the vegan option, you can. Simply replace the meat options with vegetarian protein sources like tofu. For the broth, you can use water or vegetable broth.

Alternative Cambodians Soups You Should Try

Samlor Korko isn’t the only soup popular in Cambodia. According to the TasteAtlas, other soups you can try include the following:

  • Ngam Nguv: This meal is usually served at Cambodian weddings. It’s prepared with meat, preserved lemons, fish sauce, green onions, seal salt, and sugar. The preserved lemons give the soup a pleasant flavor, while the lime leaves make it fragrant.
  • Samlor Machu Kroeung: This traditional dish tastes sour with an abundance of color because of turmeric and the kroeung. The ingredients include shallot, lemongrass, garlic, and galangal, which are mashed in paste, resulting in a fragrant paste.
  • Samlor Machu Srae: The main ingredient in this meal includes fish, krill, and water spinach. At times it might also include snails and small crabs.

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