Use our recipe to make a green kroeung Khmer herb and spice paste.
Put 1 teaspoon of prahok (fermented fish paste) in 50 mls of water, stir vigorously and mash any chunks until they’re almost dissolved. Discard any bones and stringy pieces.
Dry roast the long grain rice in a wok (see notes above).
Prepare the vegetables and fruit, chopping everything into bite sized pieces: chop your Asian pumpkin and long Asian eggplant into bite sized pieces; cut the small round eggplants into quarters; slice the carrot into ½ cm slices to give colour to the dish; chop the beans into pieces of approx. 4cm length; chop the papaya into bite-size pieces; slice the green banana into ½ cm slices; and cut the green jackfruit into strips lengthways. Set everything aside.
Stir-fry the pea eggplants in 1 tablespoons neutral cooking oil in a wok on medium-high heat, constantly stir-frying the eggplants until they are soft, brown and a little charred. This removes the bitterness and sweetens. Set them aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a large soup pot. Add two tablespoons of green kroeung and quickly fry for a minute or less to release the aromas, before adding the chopped pork or chicken, the prahok in its liquid or fish sauce, salt, and sugar, and fry until cooked.
Add two cups of water (or vegetable stock), then the firmest vegetables first, such as the pumpkin, carrots and green fruits, along with half the dry-roasted rice, stir, and bring to a boil, before turning down the heat to simmer gently.
Add another two cups of water to the pot, along with the catfish if you choose to use it (or fish of your choice), the remaining vegetables that take less time to cook, and the other 2 tablespoons of green kroeung, and stir.
Continue to simmer gently, add the remaining roasted ground rice, and the remaining water, stir, and continue to simmer until you have a dense, hearty, almost stew-like soup.
Taste, and add more salt or sugar if needed so that the flavour is balanced. If necessary, add more water, stir, simmer, then ladle into individual bowls. If this is a main meal, Cambodians would eat this with steamed white jasmine rice.