Filled with lemongrass, chillies, garlic, galangal, and turmeric, this Royal Red Kroeung is a kick-ass Cambodian spice paste!
When it comes to satisfying my South East Asian curry cravings – yes, my curry cravings are very specific – I’m usually well organised. I’ve always got a batch of homemade Thai curry pastes sitting in my freezer (I have both the more authentic and my very own Quick and Easy Cheater’s Versions).
And, if Thai flavours won’t quick fix the cravings, I know the Paramedic will whip up one of his signature dishes: a creamy, slow-cooked Beef Randang.
But, when neither the flavours of Thailand or Malaysia will fix the desperate need for creamy and spicy, coconut-milk-based curry, then I turn towards Cambodian cuisine.
Royal Red Kroeung. It sounds so exotic, right? I mean, we’re not just going to have a red curry paste, we’re going to have a ROYAL curry paste – how delightful!
So, serious talk: In Khmer (Cambodian) cuisine, Kroeung is the general term for a blend of spices and can be divided into two very broad, and also very speculative, categories: Individual or Royal.
Individual Kroeung are the spice blends/ pastes/ mixtures used for a specific dish: certain ingredients found in more standardised Kroeung may be omitted – or others even added – to create a paste adapted to a single purpose.
Royal Kroeung are, as you can imagine, the pastes used for the royal kitchens, or used in special occasions. They are usually more standardised – opting for a one-size-fits all sort of deal, and can be used across a wide range of dishes.
Just like the more familiar Thai curry pastes, Kroeung can also come in three very distinct colours depending on the main ingredients being used: Dried red peppers produce Red Kroeung, Turmeric Yellow Kroeung, and Lemongrass and cilantro Green Kroeung.