Cambodian Spicy Beef and Aubergine Stew – Samlaw Machou Kroeung

The Cambodian cuisine consists of some of the finest finger licking recipes that can tantalize your taste buds. Known for its amazing sauces and wide variety of seafood the region has a healthy and tasty variety of recipes that anyone in the world would bight into. This Cambodian Spicy Beef and Aubergine Stew is not only spicy but also tangy and extremely fragrant. This recipe is a good representative of using the iconic Kroeung, the basic marinade paste from Cambodia.


  • 6 dried red chilies, soaked in water, seeded with the top removed
  • 1½ Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 Tbsp Kroeung (please refer to the link below to the Kroeung marinade paste recipe)
  • 5 fresh chilies
  • 8 Tbsp Tamarind extract
  • 3 Tbsp Tuk Trey sauce (please refer to the link below for the Tuk Trey Dipping sauce recipe)
  • 3 Tbsp palm sugar
  • 2lbs or 5 Thai eggplants, with stems removed and cut into ½ inch thick lengths
  • 120 gm bunch chopped watercress or arugula
  • 8 Tbsp fresh curry leaves
  • Kosher Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Ingredients for the Stock

  • 3 lb beef shank or brisket
  • 3 large onions, chopped into quarters
  • 4 carrots, chopped into chunks
  • 6 oz sliced fresh ginger root
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 star anise
  • 1 ½ tsp peppercorns
  • 8 Tbsp soy sauce


  • In a big pot, add 12 cups of water and boil the beef together with the onions, carrot, ginger root, cinnamon sticks, star anise and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow it to simmer for 3 hours. Remove any impurities you see floating to the top of the stock. Then add the soy sauce
  • Simmer, with the pot uncovered for another hour and allow the stock to reduce to about 10 cups. Strain the stock of any fat and impurities.
  • Remove the beef from the stock and cut half the meat into thin strips to put back into the soup.
  • Heat the oil in a wok and add the kroeung, the dried chilies and the fresh chilies. Fry until golden brown. Add the tamarind extract, sugar and the stock. Bring to the boil and stir well.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the sliced beef, aubergines, water cress or arugula. Simmer for another 20 minutes.
  • In a wok or sauce pan, dry-fry the curry leaves on low heat until fragrant. Be careful not to overcook them.
  • Add half the curry leaves into the soup and mix well. Use the other half for garnishing before serving.

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