How to make Kreung, the best Khmer spice paste in 2022
It is one of the most important ingredients in Cambodian cuisine, used in stir fried dishes as well as soups or when meat is marinated. If you want to know how to make Kreung we can assure you: it’s quite easy and you should get all ingredients in supermarkets, asia markets or even in your garden.
Despite what the name suggests the spice paste is not spicy. There isn’t even chilli used when you learn how to make Kreung. It’s is related to the use of different herbs and spices. Kreung can be bought at the market – many Cambodians buy it there for daily use – but its much more intense in taste pleasing your palates when you make it from scratch.
How to make Kreung in a mortar
The traditional way of producing Kreung is in a classic mortar. It can be made of stone or wood – the result will be the same. You also need a good knife and a chopping board – in Cambodia is a wooden board in every household used for this task.
Ingredients for Kreung (sometimes also called Royal Kreung)
3 stalks lemongrass
1 ounce galangal
4 kaffir lime leaves
8 cloves garlic
1 ounce turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
First you need to cut the lemongrass into fine slices. Remove the middle rib from the kaffir lime leave. Only use the white and bright green part of the stalks. Then peel and slice galangal, garlic and ginge as thin as possible. For turmeric you can use either the root or just a teaspoon of power.
Then place lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves in the mortar and start grinding. You can go in circles to ensure that the oil is released from the broken cells. Add the other ingredients and grind until it becomes a thick paste.
Make Kreung in a food processor
If you don’t have a mortar, you can use a food processor or a blender. You still need to cut the ingredients but it doesn’t have to be that fine. The best way how to make Kreung in a food processor is to start again with the hard parts and then add the other ingredients. Don’t use the highest setting.
Red and green Kreung
There are variants of Kreung, and the difference lies in some other ingredients. The green Kreung uses more lemongrass and less – or not at all – tumeric. For the red Kreung you replace the tumeric with chilli. use fresh chilies to get a bright color and a well developed flavor.
How to make Kreung while in Cambodia
If you want to learn how to make Kreung while traveling in Cambodia, you should visit our host Ms. Laum. She will show you how Kreung is used as an ingredient in the famous dish fish amok. You can book the cooking class in Siem Reap with her here.