Cha Kroeung Sach Moan (Cambodian Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry)
For a mega-hit of color, fragrance and Southeast Asian flavor, this incredible Cambodian Cha Kroeung Sach Moan Chicken Stir Fry with Lemongrass delivers on all fronts! Learn how easy this authentic dish is to prepare at home. Cambodia is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. the Khmer people are some of […]

For a mega-hit of color, fragrance and Southeast Asian flavor, this incredible Cambodian Cha Kroeung Sach Moan Chicken Stir Fry with Lemongrass delivers on all fronts! Learn how easy this authentic dish is to prepare at home.

Cambodia is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. the Khmer people are some of the friendliest, funniest and most hospitable people I have encountered while traveling. The country is rich in culture, natural beauty and of course, delicious food! Having long been a fan of South East Asia cooking like Thai, Vietnamese, Malay and Indonesian, I wanted to taste the delicacies of Cambodia and I could not be disappointed.

I have tasted so many amazing dishes in the country and the one that has stayed with me all these years is the amazing Cha Kroeung Sach Moan - a wonderful Cambodian lemongrass chicken stir-fry. I ate it on my last day in the country which was also January 1st. To say I had a hangover would be an understatement, so this scent and colorful bombshell was a very welcome relief!

What is Kroeung?

Kroeung is the stir-fry batter from the recipe. It is a combination of fresh aromas that are synonymous with the region. This kroeung recipe can be replaced with ingredients other than chicken, like beef, lamb, or seafood - it's the same flavor base for many Khmer dishes. If you're up for the grind, use a Pestle mortar to grind together lemongrass, shallots, turmeric, garlic and kaffir lime leaves. Otherwise, a food processor or hand blender does the job too!

Is Cambodian cuisine spicy?

Generally speaking, I found Cambodian cuisine to be halfway between Thai and Vietnamese - a more subtle version of Thai. That's not to say I didn't eat nuclear spice curry dishes, but overall it was sweeter. The use of lemongrass is similar to that of Vietnamese, giving a wonderful fragrant citrus note, just like my Vietnamese pork with lemongrass and chili or the wonderful Grilled Vietnamese pork chops with lemongrass (Thit Heo Nuong Xa) - one of my favorites.

How to Sauté Cha Kroeung Sach Moan

To start the Cha Kroeung Sach Moan, we fry onion in scented coconut oil. I just LOVE the aroma of coconut oil - brings me straight back to South East Asian hawker markets. It's one of my favorite smells! We will fry the onion for a few minutes until it softens a bit.

Next up is the Kroeung paste, so get ready for the scent bomb! It's almost immediate - the kitchen will be filled with the scent of lemongrass in seconds and mouths will start to water! This dough sauté for a few minutes to cook the raw ingredients.

The chicken goes into the pan to cook. Since it's chicken breast, it's a relatively quick deal. Chicken breast is great for quick cooking like the Cha Kroeung Sach Moan stir-fry - it stays moist and doesn't dry out like a long-cooked sauce like a Burmese curry chicken for example. Never use brisket for curry! Thighs and legs are the best!

To add to the magic, we present another of my favorite flavors - Thai basil. Often known as holy basil, it has a flavor and odor similar to Italian basil, but a more fragrant floral note. It's incredible! You can use Italian basil if you can't find it at the store. Most Asian supermarkets stock it, but Italian basil is fine too.

We add a few more ingredients to balance the sweetness, saltiness, acidity and heat - this makes this a unique Cambodian. I remember the version I ate in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh was `` hella-spicy '', but you can increase or decrease the spice or even leave it out entirely. In fact, as a dish without chili, this stir-fry is absolutely delicious.

And that's all! The stir-fry is ready - 10 minutes to prepare and you have a dish so packed with flavor you'll wonder where it all came from. It is a unique glimpse of one of the most amazing countries in the world. A country of immeasurable tragedy, but who refused to lose their amazing culture, personality and cuisine. This Cha Kroeung Sach Moan stir-fry is the epitome of Cambodian flavors and you will love it, I know!

Cha Kroeung Sach Moan (Cambodian Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry)

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How to make my Cha Kroeung Sach Moan (Cambodian Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry)

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