Recipes for Change: Somlar Kako (Cambodian Curry)

Try the Recipe at home: Somlar Kako (Cambodian Curry)

Serves 4

Nutritional values per serving:

  • Calories: 880 • Fat: 49.1g •Carbs: 63.5g •Protein: 48.2g


  • 200g sliced pork belly and/or 450g sliced firm-flesh fish  (such as catfish)
  • 1 tbsp prahok (Khmer fish paste)
  • 3 tbsp green kroeung paste (green spicy paste)
  • 2 tbsp tik trei (fish sauce)
  • 2 tsp palm sugar
  • 4 tbsp ground roasted rice
  • 1.1 litres chicken or fish stock
  • 200g each of: pumpkin sliced into chunks, shredded green papaya, chopped small eggplant and sliced long beans
  • 1 shredded green plantain
  • 1 pack of trob put-nhorng (pea eggplant)
  • 2 handfuls sleuk ma-raeh  (or spinach)
  • A few bird’s eye chillies for garnish

Cooking instructions:

  • Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat, add pork and stir-fry until golden brown
  • Add kroeung, stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in fish and prahok, fry for a further 2-3 minutes.
  • Lower heat, remove fish, cover to keep warm and set aside.
  • Turn heat to medium, stir in pumpkin, green papaya and long beans; mix.
  • Pour in stock and roasted ground rice. Bring to a boil, cook for 4-5 minutes.
  • Return fish to mix, add plantain, crushed pea eggplant and chopped eggplant; bring back to boil.
  • Add salt, sugar and tik trei.
  • Lower heat, cook covered for 10-12 minutes until vegetables are tender and fish is cooked through. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Stir in sleuk ma-raeh and remove from heat immediately.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with chillies. Serve hot with steamed jasmine rice.

Climate risks

  • Extreme weather events – flooding
  • Shorter rainy seasons and longer dry seasons, leading to increased pests and diseases
  • Less rainfall and higher temperatures, affecting rice paddies

IFAD’s ASAP solutions

  • Using plastic mulches and drip irrigation with more nutritious crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes
  • Improved access to markets through farm business advisers
  • Planting different rice varieties (short-, medium- and long-term) with improved low-cost technologies (drum seeders)
  • Promoting integrated farming systems and biogas digesters