Kreung (Lemongrass Paste)
Kreung is probably one of the first things you learn how to make if you’re Khmer. And if you’ve never learned before, well then…let me show you!
This lemongrass paste is at the heart of many Khmer dishes. The aroma from the fresh lemongrass, lime leaves, and galangal, make for an inviting dish, that’ll surely bring back those childhood memories of your mom or pops, cooking away in the kitchen.
3 lemongrass stalks trimmed and finely chopped
1 small shallot finely chopped
2 large chili pods soaked in water for 2-3 hours until softened
6-10 lime leaves finely chopped
1 handful of galangal finely chopped (about 29 grams)
half a head of garlic peeled and crushed
1/4 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of turmeric
1. After your chili pods have softened, drain them, remove the stems and seeds, and then finely chop it.
2. Into a food processor, add in your lemongrass, lime leaves, and galangal. Pulse for 1 minute.
3. Add in your chopped chili and pulse for 30 more seconds.
4. Finally, add in your shallots and garlic and continue to pulse for 1 more minute.
5. Put your fresh lemongrass paste in an air tight container, and store it in the fridge. I recommend using it within 2 weeks.
If you are NOT using shallots, I recommend using a mortar and pestle for this recipe. Start by pulsing your lemongrass, lime leaves, and galangal in a food processor, and then dump the mixture into your mortar. Pound the lemongrass mixture until it creates a paste. Finally, add in your chopped chili and garlic cloves and continue to pound it, until done.