By: H. Rajana. ( Jul - Aug, 2001 Volume 1 No.3 )

Samlor kako is considered a special dish. It is different from other Khmer soups because of the mixture of meats and vegetables which go into making it. This soup is considered health-giving, due to the sheer variety of vegetables it contains, all rich in vitamins. It mixes many contrasting flavors bitter, hot, sharp and sweet _ in every mouthful.


Spices and Flavorings
Prahok (fish cheese), citronella (lemon grass), roasted rice powder (the powder obtained from grinding toasted rice), rumdeng (a kind of ginger that can be also used as medicine), saffron, leaves of small sour orange, garlic and sugar.


Any one of these meats of a combination of several may be used
Fish (trei), usually from fresh, scale-less fish such as trei an-deng (silure clarias), trei ch’laing or trei po (types of catfish), chicken (moan), duck, (tiar), pork (sach chrouk), beef (sach ko), a species of small turtle dove (lolork traing), a kind of large turtle-dove (lolork trou), pigeon (preap), partridge or quail (kruoch eut), turtle (an-doeuk), frog (kang-kep), eel (an-tong) Vegetables
Every one of these vegetables and fruits must be included to create authentic Samlor kako. Egg plant, pumpkin, green jack fruit, dishcloth gourd, bean with ribbed pad, long bean (phaseolus tuberosus), green papaya fruit, green banana fruit, green sugar palm fruit, the young bud of the coconut tree, the young bud of the sugar palm tree Vegetable Leaves or Shoots Flowers of kra'saing (a kind of a large spiny tree with flat, round, sour fruit), flower of male papaya, flower of ang-kear dei (a kind of tall tree with edible flowers and leaves), leaves of bitter melon, leaves of green pepper, leaves of gnup (phyllantus emblica), leaves of chreh (its timber is used for lumber and the leaves eaten), shoots of pramatt dei (bitter grass used to cure fever), leaves of p'tee (amarantus bletum _ its leaves are edible and its ashes produce soda from which a soap is made), leaves of bah (a type of vine and its leaves of which are used in soups), leaves of mrom (moringa oleifera), stems and flowers of pumpkin fruit.


Dice the meat and chop the vegetables, grind toasted rice to a powder, chop citronella into fine circles and grind it together with saffron, leaves of small sour orange and garlic in a mortar and pestle. Dice the prahok.


Fry the meat and two thirds of the chopped vegetables, leaves and flowers fruits, together with diced prahok. Cook together until meat is tender and liquid from the other ingredients has almost evaporated.
Pour in vegetable fruits and add two thirds of the toasted rice. Add water and continue to simmer until it the meats and vegetables are well done
Add water one final time. Boil vigorously.
Pour in the remaining toasted rice. Season with salt, sugar, seasoning powder to taste. Place remaining vegetable leaves and shoots into the pot. Stir thoroughly until soup is done. Balance the amounts of various vegetables according to taste. For instance, if you like your soup hot, increase the amount of spicy vegetables. Sweet, increase the number of sweeter flavors. For this soup, toasted rice can be considered a catalyst or the key of the formula. Depending on individual desire, people in some regions like to add coconut milk to their soup. Well prepared Samlor kako is a delicious dish to serve parents, friends and relatives, and of course our dearest visitors who wish to experience Khmer food during their stay. Enjoy!