Sunday, February 5, 2012

Kroeung , cambodian herbal paste

Kroeung , cambodian herbal paste
This is an all-purpose cambodian herbal paste. Similar in many ways to indian and,
especially, Thai curry pastes, it belies the idea that cambodia does not have curry
pastes, or curries in general for that matter. Kroeungs come in several versions that
include yellow (using additional turmeric), green (using green lemongrass leaves)
and red (using red chilies), just like Thai curry pastes. it is essentially (or arguably)
the foundation to many cambodian hybrid curries, and contains seven main
ingredients: lemongrass, galangal, wild ginger (krachai), garlic, shallot, kaffir lime
zest, and turmeric. other more complex
kroeungs may also include kaffir lime
leaves, cilantro root, and chilies. For a basic curry base, stir-fry the paste with 1 tbsp indian curry powder and 1 tbsp or more shrimp paste, until it becomes two shades darker. Add thick coconut milk and/or stock and proceed as you would withother types of curries, adding meat, poultry, or seafood, and vegetables.
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed,
then chopped
1 oz (30 g) galangal, chopped
1 oz (30 g) wild ginger
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 large shallot, chopped
grated zest of 1 kaffir lime
4 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro root (optional)
1 oz (30 g) turmeric root, chopped, or
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Traditionally, this paste is made using a mortar and pestle, pounding the most fibrous ingredients
first, as they will need more pulverizing than anything that is tender. However, it is easier, and quicker, to use a food processor or blender: blend the ingredients, adding water (1 tbsp at a time as necessary) to ease the process. The amount of water, if needed, all depends on how naturally juicy the ingredients are.
The paste is always best freshly made, but can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2–3 days.
other ingredients
2 lemongrass leaves (if making a green
kroeung), chopped
1/2 oz (15 g) turmeric root or
1/4 tsp
ground turmeric (if making a yellow kroeung)
2–4 dried large red chilies (if making a red
kroeung), soaked until soft, seeded,
and chopped

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