Cambodian Saraman (Beef with Ginger and Peanuts) Curry – Recipe

One of Cambodia’s most famous curries. Beef with lots of ginger and cardamom, some Indian spices and peanuts. One to try if you ever visit this beautiful country with its really, really sad history. But in Siem Riep, don’t order it from one of the tourist eateries in Bar Street. Rather find one of the small authentic places near the market or on the outskirts of town where the Khmer people go.

Cambodian Saraman Curry


  • 1 kilogram Beef Topside, Cut into 4 cm cubes
  • 120 grams Fresh ginger, Finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut oil
  • 3 Red chillies, Deseeded and chopped
  • 2 ½ teaspoons Galangal (Or Ginger), Chopped
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 4 Spring Onion, White parts only – chopped
  • 2 Stalks Lemon grass, Smashed
  • 3 tablespoons Fresh Coriander Roots, Cleaned and chopped
  • 3 Star anise
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Mace
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Nutmeg
  • 10 Green cardamom pods
  • 2 x 4 centimeters Cinnamon sticks
  • ½ teaspoon Turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon Kampot pepper, Ordinary black pepper could also be used
  • 2 Green chillies, Deseeded and finely sliced
  • 75 grams Peanuts, Unsalted and roasted
  • 5 tablespoons Tamarind water
  • 4 tablespoons Palm sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shrimp paste
  • 1 liter Coconut milk


1. Squeeze the grated ginger over a mixing bowl to extract all the juice. Discard the fibre. Add the beef to the bowl and toss to cover with ginger juice. Set aside to marinade for 30 to 45 minutes.

2. Dry roast the spices and blend into a smooth powder using a spice grinder.

Cambodian Saraman Curry

3. Add the herbs to a blender or pestle and mortar and grind into a fine paste. Add a little water if the mixture gets too dry and sticky. About one tablespoon of water at a time. Mix the dry and wet pastes for form you curry base.

4. Add a little oil and the shrimp paste to a wok or deep, large saucepan and fry until fragrant. Add the curry paste and fry for another 3 to 4 minutes then add half the coconut milk. Let it come to a boil without stirring and let it cook until the coconut milk splits and the oil separates from the milk. Add the beef and cook for about 20 minutes. Stir regularly.

5. After about 20 minutes, add the remaining green chillies, coconut milk, the palm sugar, tamarind juice, fish sauce and peanuts. Reduce to medium heat and cook covered for about another hour to an hour-and-a-half until the beef is really tender and sauce is thickened. If the sauce gets too thick, add one or more tablespoons of water. Stir regularly and check the heat as the sauce thickens. Serve with boiled or steamed rice.


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