Our Main Ingredients
Due to its tropical wet climate, Cambodia has many native plants, most of which are preferred fresh in local cuisines. When cooking Cambodian food at our class you will learn about some of these herbs and spices: name, origin, flavor and how to use them.
In Cambodia spice usage is less dominant than in neighbouring Thailand.
Many visitors to Cambodia describe the country’s cuisine as more subtle and flavoursome than Thai food.
Here we introduce you to some herbs and spices used in the Cambodian dishes. Khmer names are indicate in italic.
Lemongrass (slek krey)
Lemongrass is widely used as a herb in Cambodian cooking. It has a citrus flavour and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. The stalk itself is too hard to be eaten except for the soft inner part. However, it can be finely sliced and added to recipes. It’s a main ingredient in the ‘kroeung’ (curry paste).
Kaffir Lime Leaves (slek kroch)
A small to large oblong leaf, pale green to dark green in color, that are grown on fruit trees producing Kaffir limes. The Kaffir lime leaf is often used as a seasoning to provide a fresh citrus overtone in a variety of Cambodian food dishes especially in the cooking for soups
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant. It is commonly used in our Cambodian food. You probably know turmeric as the main spice in our paste (Kroeung). It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color Khmer paste, curry, mustard, butters, and cheeses.
While all varieties of galangal are closely related to common ginger, and all exhibit some resemblance to the hot, spicy flavor of ginger, each is unique in its own right, and galangals are not typically regarded as synonymous with ginger or each other in traditional Cambodian dishes.
Rice Paddy Herb (Ma'om)
With a lemony, citrus aroma as well as flavor, this is commonly used in seafood and fish soups such as Samlor Machou Trey, a Cambodian soup. Also added to various other dishes as an uncooked herb seasoning.especially in the cooking for soups
Sweet Basil (Ji Neang Vong)
A leafy, green herb that is a member of the mint family of plants. Providing an intense but sweet and subtle flavor. Containing a fragrance similar to cloves, basil can be dried and used during months when it may not be available in some regions, but it provides the most flavor when served fresh.