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A royal dish in Cambodia, the Kari Saraman is a difficult but oh! rewarding dish to prepare. Here is my recipe, that I have learned from our cook and my dad. One of my favorite food ! Music in the video: played by my brother Panhlauv (flute) and me at the piano.

  • 3 kg Beef Shank - Sat kamphong jeung
  • 2 kg Beef for stew - sat trorsey jeung (Chuck, blade steak)
  • 50 dl Fish sauce (2 ladles/2.5 cups) – teuk trey
  • 200 g Whole dried Chili peppers Mteh Saueur / Kriem
  • 150 g Shrimp paste kapi
  • 200 g Garlic – kteum sor
  • 200 g Shallots – kteum krohom
  • 200-300 g Sugar palm – skor thnaot
  • 2.5 L Coconut cream (1st press) – Ktih daeum
  • 2 L Coconut milk (2nd press) – ktih jong
  • 300 g Lemongrass, thinly sliced – takrey
  • 2-3 Fingers of turmeric
  • 1 Galangal (size of a thumb)
  • 12 Kaffir leaves
  • 1 Kaffir lime
  • 60 g Uncooked rice (2 ladles/2 cups)
  • 3 tbsp Salt


  • One stone mortar and stone pestle
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 cleaver
  • 1 large stew pot
  • 1 ladle


- For the coconut cream and coconut milk, select 6 large fully mature coconuts (it becomes fully mature and begins to germinate. The coconut meat and liquid start to be absorbed and a ball forms within the coconut).

- For the beef, look for the beef cuts for stew. Best are cuts from the chuck or blade steak but in this recipe, we use also the round steak which is dryer. Look for red, shiny, plum and fresh cuts.


1. FIRE. Light the charcoal until it is hot: the flames must have died down, the coals are glowing red and covered with a light dusting of fine grey ash. They are at the right temperature when you can keep the palm of your hand flat about 12.5 cm (5 in.) above the coals and count 3-4 seconds (the coals are medium hot) to 5-6 seconds (coals are medium). This temperature must stay constant during the simmering.

2. COCONUT: In a stew pot, add 1 liter of coconut milk (second press) and half a liter of coconut cream (1st press). Let the liquid simmer until the other ingredients are prepared, about 30 minutes.

3. CHILIS: remove the seeds, clean and let them soak in 1 liter of clean water.

Soak the rice in a bowl of water;
Clean the turmeric, galangal, kaffir lime. Peel the turmeric and galangal and cut into small pieces; cut the kaffir lime into large slices;
Drain the rice;
In a stone mortar, put the lemongrass, turmeric, galangal, kaffir lime and rice;
Pound until it is a puree so that you cannot see the ingredients;
Save the kari paste (kroeung);
Clean and pound the garlic; add half of the shallots (save about 20 to add them in the stew pot later);
Add a fistful (one cup) of kari paste (kroeung) and continue to pound until it is well mixed (there will be pieces of 2-3 mm of shallots).

5. MEAT. Wash the meat. Cut the shank into 3 cm wide slice and the chuck/shoulder/round into square pieces (5 cm by 5 cm).

6. Add the remaining of the coconut milk (2nd press).

7. CHILIS. Drain the chilis, save the water used. With 2 pieces of sugar palm, chop the chilis until it becomes a puree. The sugar makes it easier to mince the chilis.

8. Add to the stew meat one by one (in this order) and stir well after each ingredient:

The chilis puree
The Kari paste
The shrimp paste
250g of sugar palm

Before adding each ingredient, make sure the former one is well melt into the mixture.

9. Then add:

- The 20 or so whole shallots

- 12 leaves of kaffir

- The pieces of meat

10. Season with salt and fish sauce

11. Let the stew simmer for 3-4 hours. When the level of stew reduces, add the water used to soak the chilis. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

12. Watch the fire so that the temperature stays constant and the stew is simmering. Test-check the doneness of the meat. It should be tender, meltingly soft with the fiber easily loosening itself.

13. Add the remaining of the coconut cream (2 liters) and wait for the stew to boil (about 5 minutes). Then remove the pot from the fire.

14. It’s ready !

At home, we eat the Kari Saraman with bread, naan bread or noodles. The noodles should be accompanied by assorted minced vegetables and mints. See below:


- 2 banana flowers (troyon chek): wash, remove the first few leaves; slice the flower as thinly as you can (round slices) until you reach the stamen. To avoid the flower to darken due to the sap, soak the minced banana flower in fresh water (2-3 liters) to which you will have added the juice of two limes or tamarind juice.

  • Half a green cabbage: clean and slice from the heart to the sides.
  • 500 g of cucumber (trosok): wash, peel and slice in matchstick size.
  • 500 g long beans (samdek kour – vigna sesquipedalis): slice thinly
  • 500 g of bean sprouts (sandek bandos): choose the short and fat ones. Rinse thoroughly and trim off the root ends if you have time.
  • Morning glory (trokuan – ipomoea aquatic): select those that are firmer, remove the leaves and mince only the stalk. Blanch them quickly.
  • Winged beans (preapey chhrung – psophocarpus tetragono lobus): slice (2-3 mm)
  • Stems of lotus (prolet kraav chhok – nymphea lotus): clean and mince in fine slices

The thinner the slices are, the finer the taste will be.


  • Mint
  • White humming bird / sesbania (Angkea dey - sesbania grandiflora)
  • Yellow sesbania (sesbania javanica)
  • Basil (chi nieng vong / Ocimum Basilicum)
  • Limnophile or limnophila aromatic (mo-am)
  • Polygonum odorantum (Chi pong tia kone / chi krassaign tum hum)
  • Houttuynia Cordata (chi thpoal trey)
  • Panicaut / Eryngo (chi banal baraing – eryngium foetidum)

Wash generously and use only the young leaves of the various herbs. Select one by one and keep only the young and fresh ones. We serve only the leaves, removed from their stems.

Tag(s) : #Curries and soups
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