This is a basic recipe for the Cambodian marinade paste called the Kroeung. There are many variations available, ranging from those for cooking specialist fish dishes and different meat dishes.
When preparing Cambodian food, work with this recipe as a start – the rich flavours will go well with whatever dish you are cooking. Use a pestle and mortar in this recipe to obtain a thick paste but it’s fine to use a food processor, if that’s easier. Add a few teaspoons of water if you find it difficult blending this mix properly.
- 3 stalks lemongrass, thinly sliced (use only the bottom 8cm of the stalk)
- 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 30 g galangal, peeled and finely chopped
- 30 g fresh turmeric, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced, with the hard ribs removed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Grind all the ingredients to a paste. If you are using the pestle and mortar, start off with the hard to grind ingredients like the lemongrass, the kaffir lime leaves and the galangal.
- Add the rest of the ingredients one by one after the lemongrass, the lime leaves and the galangal have been sufficiently crushed.
This marinade paste will keep well in the fridge for about five days. Add some oil to the paste so that a thin layer of oil forms at the top to ensure its freshness.