Cambodian cuisine has been called the new Thai so here’s your chance to be ahead of the trend and try this curry from the new book of Creative Cambodian Cooking from not-for profit organisation Friends-International, which funds cooking schools for street kids with the proceeds.


Serves 4

  • 500ml coconut cream
    2 tbsp chilli paste
    8 tbsp lemongrass paste
    1 tsp shrimp paste
    2 tbsp fish sauce
    600g fish fillets, cut into strips
    1cm wide
    1 tbsp palm sugar
    1 tsp Vietnamese curry powder
    ½ tsp star anise
    ½ tsp powdered coriander seed
    2L fish or vegetable stock
    600g pumpkin, cut into strips
    1cm wide, blanched
    Salt to taste
    Fresh coriander, for garnish

Chilli paste

  • 200g dried large chillies (not too spicy), seeded
    500ml warm water
    1 tbsp sunflower oil (makes approx. 250g)

Lemongrass paste

  • 200g young lemongrass stalks
    1 tbsp galangal, peeled, chopped
    2 tbsp fresh turmeric, peeled, chopped
    4 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
    4 garlic cloves, halved
    Peel of half kaffir lime, chopped
    1 tbsp Cambodian rhizome, peeled, chopped (makes approx. 250g)


To make chilli paste:

Soak chillies in water for 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze as much of the remaining water out as possible. Chop
into a paste. In a wok heat oil, add chillies and fry on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant. Allow to cool and store in a lidded glass jar.

To make lemongrass paste:

With a mortar and pestle, pound lemongrass into a paste, then add remaining ingredients and pound until well combined. This paste will keep refrigerated for one day only. In a pot, reduce 250ml of the coconut cream by half. Add chilli, lemongrass and shrimp pastes and fish sauce, and fry until fragrant.

Add fish and mix well. Add palm sugar, curry powder, star anise, coriander seed powder, stock and pumpkin and simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes or until fish is cooked. Season with salt. Remove pumpkin and fish from sauce.

Blend sauce until smooth, pour back into pan and add remaining coconut cream. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes more. Gently add back fish and pumpkin. Divide between four plates and garnish with coriander