We enjoyed the Khmer food because it included lots of tasty squash and pumpkin pieces. (It was a welcomed change from the way squash is often prepared in the States, beaten and served as a side-dish.) Here is a recipe which uses pumpkin or squash the Cambodian way. Some ingredients may be found only in Asian grocery stores.

Salor Kor-Ko Sap: Khmer Vegetarian Stew


  • 1 Asian egg plant. Cut chunks.
  • 1 Bitter melon. Removed seeds and cut chunks.
  • 2 Cups cubes fresh squash or pumpkin ( already peeled,seeded and cut).
  • 5 oz. Frozen chopped spinach or ½ lb. Fresh spinach. Chopped.
  • 2 Slices fresh galanga root, or frozen galanga root. (Ginger can be substituted.)
  • 1 Kaffir lime leaves.
  • 1 Tablespoon minced lemon grass.
  • 1 Tablespoon mushroom sauce. (Cream of mushroom soup can be substituted.)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar.
  • 2 Tablespoon roasted rice powder.* (See below)
  • 1 Teaspoon salt.
  • ½ Teaspoon turmeric powder, or 3 pieces fresh turmeric roots.
  • ½ Teaspoon paprika.
  • 1 Cup coconut milk. (Option, substitute with 1 cup water instead.)
  • 2 Cups water.


Put coconut milk, water, lemon grass, galanga, kaffir lime leaves, turmeric, paprika and garlic in a blender and blended it.
Places eggplant and bitter melon in a soup pot. Pour the mixes spices sauce over, and cover the pot with lid.
Simmering for 10 minutes then add pumpkin and spinach. Cover and cook till the pumpkin tender.
Seasoning with sugar, salt, mushroom sauce and roasted rice powder. Stirs well.
Serve hot with rice or hot bread.


*Roasted rice powder
kao kua

Roasted rice powder

Roasted (or toasted) rice powder (kao kua) is made from white rice that has been dry-roasted until the grains turn a rich brown color. The browned rice is then ground into a fine powder.
Make your own rice powder by roasting raw sticky rice in a hot skillet (cast iron is good) or wok over low to medium heat until golden brown for about 12 minutes. Stir constantly so that it does not burn. Grind in a mortar with a pestle or clean electric coffee-grinder until pulverized. Some small pieces of rice may still be visible.

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