Khmer BBQ Coconut-Pork Skewers Recipe

Khmer BBQ Coconut-Pork Skewers Recipe

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This is an authentic recipe from our team in Cambodia, featured in our Cambodia Recipe Box. The ingredients labeled with a * below are hard-to-find ingredients that we’ve sourced from Cambodia and are all included in our recipe box which is available for shipping throughout the USA and China. For more information and to purchase online, click here.

Recipe Notes

This is a popular and traditional style of barbeque marinade that can go on all manner of meat and vegetables for your traditional cook-out. Usually, meats and vegetables are grilled separately, with the unique exception being skewered. They are served as-is, with rice at a cook-out, or with chili-garlic sauce and a fresh green papaya salad inside toasted baguettes. Street grills usually serve very thin slices of meat to keep costs down, so you’re getting a higher marinade-to-meat ratio for your baguette sandwiches. 

Try it this way first, but you can also barbecue chicken or anything else you’d like in this style. We also make grilled “meatballs” with this recipe, where ground beef or pork is mixed with the marinade and then squeezed around a skewer into little “sausages” (if you try this, let it rest in the fridge after forming for at least half an hour so it doesn’t fall apart on the grill.) This dish is frequently paired with beer and eaten for major holidays, family events, or karaoke nights. You’ll even find chicken-wing bbq versions of this in night clubs to go alongside 4-liter beer towers.

The local technique heavily favors grilling over charcoal for this recipe- fats and juices will drip down into the charcoal and rise as smoke to season the skewers in their own vaporized juices. 

Not all curry pastes are the same. We selected this particular “curry” paste because it doesn’t have shrimp paste (or any animal products) and is the most authentic kreung available outside the Kingdom of Wonder. The included ingredients are primarily lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, and galangal- the holy trinity of Cambodian aromatics. It also has staples like turmeric root, garlic, and shallot, which are mainstays in homemade kreung. In the box recipes included, you will be using this as a base kreung with modifications made specific to each recipe. 

Galangal and lemongrass are already in your kreung, or “yellow curry paste,” but we’ve included extra to add even more complexity to the veritable nose-bouquet that makes up all these recipes. You’re welcome.  

As lemongrass, galangal, and coconut varieties are found all over the world, it was important to select a powder (made correctly, too) from the region to capture regional flavors. 

Serves 4
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Skill Level: Beginner

Ingredients

Items marked with a * are included in our Cambodia Recipe Box.

2 tsp lemongrass powder*

5 garlic cloves

The finely grated skin of 1 small lime, green parts only, no white.

2 tsp galangal powder*

1 Tbsp yellow curry paste*

90ml / 3oz water

1 Tbsp fish sauce*

1 Tbsp brown sugar 

25g / 2oz dried coconut flakes*

400g / 1lb lean pork, cut into 2.5cm / 1-inch cubes

1 large yellow or white onion, cut into cubes

BBQ Skewers*

Steamed white rice, or green papaya salad and baguettes to serve. 

Directions

  1. Place the lemongrass powder, galangal powder, shallots, garlic, lime zest, curry mix, and water in a mortar and pestle and blend it in circular motions, pressing ingredients against the bottom with each turn, until it becomes a consistent paste. If you don’t have this, a food processor or finely mincing it will also work.
  2. Transfer the spice paste to a mixing bowl together with the dried coconut flakes, fish sauce, and sugar and mix well.
  3. Add the pork and mix to coat well. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate for at least an hour at room temperature, up to overnight in the fridge. 
  4. Preheat the grill or barbecue to medium-high heat. As the grill is heating, soak the BBQ skewers in water for at least 30 minutes so they don’t burn while cooking. Thread the pork cubes and onion onto skewers and cook for 15-20 minutes, turning frequently and basting with the excess marinade. Serve immediately with rice.

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