Samlor Kako: Khmer Small Fish and Vegetable Stew Featured

Samlor Kako: Khmer Small Fish and Vegetable Stew


For 4 Person(s)


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb small fish, scaled, washed and cooked whole (Mekong flying barb, yellow tail rasbora, slender rasbora or any small, firm-fleshed fish may be used)
  • 1 tbsp prahok (Khmer fish paste)
  • 2 tbsp tik trei (iron-fortified fish sauce)
  • 2 tsp palm sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp iodized salt (or to taste)
  • 4 tbsp ground toasted rice
  • 5 cups water (or fish stock for flavor)
  • 3 tbsp green kroeung, a spice paste (see below for recipe)
  • 1 pumpkin wedge (about 7 oz.), peeled, seeds removed, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 green papaya wedge (about 7 oz.), peeled, washed, seeds removed and shredded
  • 2 handfuls long beans or French beans (about 7 oz.), cut lengthwise into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 green bananas (or 1 green plantain), washed then peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 cup trob put-nhorng (pea eggplant), stalks removed, washed and slightly crushed just before using
  • 1 small eggplant, washed, trimmed, quartered and cut diagonally into slices ½ inch thick
  • 2 big handfuls sleuk ma-raeh (bitter melon leaves) or spinach leaves

Green Kroeung

  • 3 tbsp lemon grass leaves, very thinly sliced
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves or zest of ¼ kaffir lime
  • 1 tbsp peeled and chopped turmeric roots
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 4 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp iodized salt


Green Kroeung

  1. Mix and grind the ingredients into a paste.

Samlor Kako

  1. Before preparing this dish, wash hands with soap and clean water. Vegetables must be washed in clean water prior to preparation.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the green kroeung then stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Take care that it does not burn. Stir in the fish and prahok, and continue to fry for a further 2-3 minutes until the fish is well coated.
  3. To prevent the fish from breaking, lower the heat, remove from the saucepan, cover to keep warm, and set aside.
  4. Turn the heat back up to medium; stir in the pumpkin, green papaya and long beans; and mix well. Pour the water/stock and the roasted ground rice into the mixture. Bring to a boil, and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Return the fish to the saucepan, add green bananas, crushed pea eggplant and sliced eggplant, and bring back to a boil. Lower the heat slightly and continue cooking with lid on for a further 10-12 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the fish is cooked through. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  6. Stir in the bitter melon leaves and remove the saucepan from heat immediately.
  7. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Recipe notes

This recipe is courtesy of