Cambodian Samlar machu

Cambodian Samlar Machu

Samlar Machu is a popular Cambodian dish, both as a stew and a soup. The flavor base is the traditional Cambodian kroeung spice blend that includes lemongrass, galangal, and makrut lime leaves. The addition of tamarind and lime in combination with fish sauce creates a slightly sour-salt note. Adapt the recipe to your taste with chicken, fish, or tofu, and vegetables of your choice.
hands-on time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cambodian
Servings 3



  • 1 lbs chicken breast or thighs cut into 1/2-inch pieces (see notes)

Fresh Produce

  • 4 cups chopped vegetables Bok choy, mushrooms, eggplant, bamboo shoots, baby kale, and/ or bell peppers
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped or grated
  • 1 lime or lemon for juice

Packaged Goods/Staples

  • 2-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • oil
  • salt & pepper

Samlar Machu Culinary Spice Kit

  • Lemongrass, tamarind, galangal, turmeric, chili, makrut lime


  • fish sauce or anchovy paste to taste
  • fresh chili pepper thinly sliced

Suggested Sides

  • 3 cups steamed or boiled rice


  • In a POT, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat.
  • Stir fry shallots until translucent.
  • Add garlic, chicken, and Samlar Machu spices. Stir for about 3 minutes.
  • Add 2 cups of broth, soy sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • If you prefer a soup, add the remaining broth as well.
  • Optionally, add fresh chili, and fish sauce or anchovy paste.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Turn heat to medium-low and cook for 10¬†minutes.
  • Add vegetables.
  • Continue to cook for about 10 minutes until all ingredients are tender.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste with lime juice and salt and pepper.
  • Serve soup and rice in separate bowls.
  • Enjoy!


Instead of chicken, add cubed firm tofu or fish fillets (e. g. snapper, cod, or tilapia, cut into 1-inch strips) together with the vegetables.