This Cambodian lemongrass chicken stir-fry recipe makes chha kroeung sach moan, an aromatic stir-fried chicken that’s a popular street food dish that’s also cooked in the home. Eaten with steamed rice and super easy to prepare, it can also be made with beef or pork, or you can do a vegetable-driven vegetarian version.
My Cambodian lemongrass chicken stir-fry recipe for chha kroeung sach moan is based on a dish that Terence and I used to order at least a couple of nights a week for a few months after we moved to Siem Reap some years ago. We used to go to a simple local Cambodian eatery that used to be on the corner of Wat Bo Road and Street 27 in Wat Bo Village and we’d order this and a couple of other dishes and sip icy cold Angkor beers at a breezy outdoor table. I’ll tell you more about that below.
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Now let me tell you about this Cambodian lemongrass chicken stir-fry recipe for chha kroeung sach moan, one of my favourite Cambodian dishes.
Cambodian Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry Recipe for Chha Kroeung Sach Moan
This Cambodian lemongrass chicken stir-fry recipe for chha kroeung sach moan is one of my favourite Cambodian recipes and it’s so ridiculously easy and quick to prepare – as long as you first make the Cambodian yellow kroeung, the quintessential Khmer herb and spice paste, and have some in the fridge. If you don’t, you’ll need to add another 20 minutes of prep time to this recipe.
I became smitten with this Cambodian lemongrass chicken stir-fry or chha kroeung sach moan soon after we moved to Cambodia from Hoi An back in 2013. We were essentially testing out Siem Reap to see if it was the kind of place we wanted to live for a while. When we first arrived from Vietnam we were lucky to get to stay in some of the most luxurious Siem Reap hotels for stories we were working on.
When we’d had our fill of luxury hotels – yes, that’s possible! – we moved to a small mid-range hotel on Street 27 while we looked for an apartment. Without a kitchen, we were eating out every night, and the local eatery on Street 27 was our go-to for a delicious, cheap meal, and it was our introduction to Cambodian food.
Sadly, that corner eatery has long-gone (a pharmacy is in its place), but the memory of this Cambodian lemongrass chicken stir-fry, the stand-out on the menu, has long stayed with me.
There’s one difference between that dish and this recipe. They offered ‘chha kroeung’ in a choice of beef, pork or chicken. We mostly ordered chha kroeung sach ko, which is a kroeung stir-fry with beef, because they were miraculously able to get hold of local beef that wasn’t tough after being stir-fried. We also loved this Cambodian lemongrass chicken stir-fry.
Now we’d have to buy Australian beef, which is expensive, as we’ve not been able to find local beef that results in a tender meat once stir-fried. The few times we’ve bought the stuff, it has been grey-green in colour by the time we’ve got the groceries home.
So we’ve tended to stick with fresh local proteins such as free-range chicken and pork, which are absolutely wonderful. As we’ve got a lot of pork recipes on Grantourismo, we thought we’d provide a Cambodian chicken dish for a change.
Plus I just love this recipe for chha kroeung sach moan. Make it and you’ll understand why. Please do let us know if you make this Cambodian lemongrass chicken stir-fry recipe as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.
No tips, as this recipe is super straightforward, but if you have any questions, please leave them below and I’ll add tips if they’re helpful.
Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry Recipe for Cambodia’s Chha Kroeung Sach Moan
- 450 g chicken thigh fillets bone and skin removed
- 2 tbsp neutral cooking oil
- 4 tbsp Khmer yellow kroeung paste
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 medium white onion sliced
- 1 green capsicum / bell pepper sliced
- 1 red capsicum / bell pepper sliced
- 4 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sugar palm sugar preferably or brown or white sugar
- kaffir lime leaves finely sliced
- fresh basil
- De-bone and de-skin the chicken thigh fillets and chop them into 3-4cm long bite-sized pieces.
- Combine the chicken pieces with 2 tablespoons of Khmer yellow kroeung paste and splash of neutral cooking oil to ensure the chicken is completely covered with the paste and then marinate in the fridge. Remove the chicken after you’ve finished prepping the ingredients below or for more aromatic flavours, marinate the chicken for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to an hour.
- Stir-fry the garlic and onion in half a tablespoon of neutral cooking oil in a hot wok for a minute or two until the onion just begins to become translucent, then set aside.
- Stir-fry the green capsicum and red capsicum for a minute or two until it just starts to soften but still maintains some crunch and set aside.
- Add the marinated chicken to the wok, along with 2 tablespoons of Khmer yellow kroeung, the rest of the cooking oil, 4 tablespoons of fish sauce, and 1 teaspoon of sugar, and combine well.
- Stir-fry for a few minutes until the chicken is just cooked. (Note: if you’re not used to stir-frying chicken, remove the largest piece and chop it in half to see if it’s cooked through. If it’s not, return it to the wok and stir-fry for another minute.)
- Add the onion and green and red capsicums at the same time and stir-fry for another minute, then plate immediately.
- Garnish with finely-sliced fresh kaffir lime leaves or fresh basil (Cambodian or Thai), and serve with steamed rice.
Do let us know if you make my Cambodian lemongrass chicken stir-fry recipe for chha kroeung sach moan in the comments below as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.