Cambodian Style Coconut Curry

Nothing beats a creamy, savory, warming bowl of coconut curry on a cold, rainy, winter day in Seattle. Check out this hearty Cambodian-style recipe that highlights the flavors and vegetables of Samlor Korko, a traditional Cambodian soup. This recipe is great for lunches or a weeknight dinner, since it comes together quickly and keeps well in the fridge for up to five days. This recipe is vegetarian, but feel free to add in the protein of your choice!

I am always looking for light, quick, easy, cheap, and delicious recipes to make at home. As much as we love checking out new restaurants, it's not always the best choice for our bodies or wallets. This comforting Cambodian inspired coconut curry mixes all the warming flavors of the rich Kroeung (Cambodian curry paste) with the brightness of citrus and chili - plus, it's vegetarian and gluten free!

The Process

Start by preparing your vegetables. You'll need to finely dice the onions and chop the eggplant and kabocha squash into bite-sized pieces. Trim the green beans and prepare the green papaya. For this recipe, we were able to pick up a prepared vegetable kit from Lam's Seafood Asian Market. This saved us a ton of time and effort on prep work. This amazing local supermarket has many prepared vegetable kits for soups, stews, and hot pot at home. Read more about their awesome products in our recent grocery haul post.

First, heat up a few tablespoons of coconut oil on the medium heat in a Dutch oven or stock pot. Then, add the onions and crushed red pepper and sauté for a few minutes until the onions become translucent. Then, you will need to sauté your curry paste. I was able to pick up a pre-made Kroeung paste at Lam's Seafood which, again, saved a lot of time and effort.

If you are unable to find Kroeung paste at your local Asian supermarket, you can make your own. The key ingredients are lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, and kaffir lime leaves. Here's a simple recipe from A Wandering Foodie. Toasting the curry in the oil really brings out the flavor and adds a lot of warmness to the dish. Next, add the squash. Stir for a few minutes to make sure that all the spices are well incorporated into the vegetables. Then, add the vegetable broth and fish sauce (omit to keep the recipe vegan) and bring the whole mixture up to a simmer.

Meanwhile, cook rice, rice noodles, or cauliflower rice to package instructions. Chop herbs and limes to serve with the curry. Store all these ingredients until you're ready to eat. While these elements definitely aren't necessary, they complement the warm curry and rich coconut milk in the broth.

After the squash has cooked about 15 minutes, add the eggplant, green beans, and green papaya. Stir all the ingredients to combine. Next, the add the coconut milk. Continue to let the curry cook for approximately 10 to 20 minutes until the beans are bright green and all the vegetables are slightly tender.

If you are adding a protein to this curry, do so at this point as well. I would recommend cooked chicken thighs or tofu, but any protein of your choice will work!

When you're ready to eat, start by adding cooked rice, rice noodles or cauliflower rice to the bottom of a bowl. Add the curry, being sure to get lots of veggies and broth. Top with fresh green onions and a squeeze of lime for extra brightness and flavor. Add extra chili sauce if you like it spicy.

Recipe Details // Ingredients & Steps


  • 1 15 oz can full fat coconut milk

  • 2-3 cups of veggie broth, depending on your desired thickness

  • 1 tablespoon dried chili flakes

  • 1/3 cup Kroueng (Cambodian curry paste)

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce (to taste, remove to keep the recipe vegan)

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1 cup kabocha squash, cubed

  • 1 Chinese eggplant, cut into bite sized pieces

  • 6 Thai eggplants, quartered

  • 2 cups of green papaya

  • 1 cup of green beans, trimmed

  • Rice, rice noodles, or cauliflower rice

  • Sriracha or hot sauce of choice (to taste)

  • Green onions and lime

  • Optional: protein of your choice - I would recommend chicken thighs or tofu


  1. Prepare all the vegetables: dice the onions and carrots, mince the garlic, cut the zucchini into large pieces, and cut the broccoli into florets.

  2. Heat a coconut oil and add the onions and chili flakes. Sauté for a few minutes until the onions are translucent and fragrant.

  3. Add the curry paste and continue to sauté for approximately 5 minutes until well toasted.

  4. Add the squash and stir to cover all vegetables in the spice/oil mixture.

  5. Add vegetable broth and fish sauce and stir to combine. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for approximately 15 minutes until the squash becomes tender.

  6. Add the eggplant, green beans, and green papaya. Stir in the coconut milk.

  7. Continue to cook the soup for approximately 10-20 minutes until the vegetables are just tender and the beans are bright green.

  8. Meanwhile, prepare the rice (jasmine or brown), rice noodles, or cauliflower rice to package instructions.

  9. Place the rice at the bottom of a bowl and add the curry - be sure to get the creamy broth and veggies.

  10. Top the curry with fresh green onions, lime, sriracha/chili and ENJOY!

Let's Chat!

Are you looking for more cozy recipes for winter? Check out our Green Chile Mac and Cheese recipe. Do you have a favorite Cambodian recipe? What recipes should we share next?


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