Cambodia is a great Conference location and the food is amazing. This chicken curry will become a favourite!


Cambodian Chicken Red Curry, known as Somlar Kari Saek Mouan or sometimes Khmer Red Curry, is a rich, flavourful curry made with coconut milk, chicken, eggplant, green beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and a wonderful red curry paste called kroeung. It’s similar to Thai red curry, but not as spicy.

Ingredients – Red Kroeung Past

  • 2 lemongrass stalks, outer leaves discarded and tender insides roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, cut into thin strips (or the zest of two limes)
  • 2 cm fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh turmeric, peeled and grated or finely minced (or 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric powder)
  • 2 inches galangal, peeled and grated or finely minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bird’s eye chilli
  • 5 large dried red peppers, seeds and stems removed, rehydrated by soaking in hot water for 10 minutes (reserve 3/4 cup of the water!)

Ingredients – Curry

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6-10 tablespoons red kroeung paste, to taste
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, each cut into 2 pieces
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 5-8 snake beans, cut into 2-inch pieces (common green beans from the supermarket also work well)
  • 1 small eggplant cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 1 large white potato, peeled, then cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled, then cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Step 1
Combine the kroeung paste ingredients in a blender, adding the 3/4 cup reserved water from soaking the dried red peppers as needed and blending until a smooth paste forms. It should be a deep red color. Store any leftover kroeung paste in the freezer until ready to use.

Step 2
Add the chicken and 1 cup of the coconut milk and stir to combine with the curry paste. Cook for 2 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.

Step 3
Add the onion, beans, eggplant, and potatoes and stir to combine.

Step 4
Add the remaining coconut milk and water, along with the fish sauce, shrimp paste, palm sugar, and salt.

Step 5
Increase the heat to medium-high just until the liquid comes to a boil.

Step 6
Reduce to medium-low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are soft.

Step 7
Serve with rice or noodles.