stirring soup(សម្លកកូរ—samlo kakor)

Samlo kakor(សម្លកកូរ) or samlor kako translates to ‘stirring soup’. It is a traditional soup of the Khmer people and well-known throughout Cambodia. Samlo kakor is made up of all sorts of fruits and vegetables stirred together into a thick soup. Hearty and healthy, it is often served with rice as a single-dish meal because of its great variety of nutritious ingredients.

A Khmer legend describes a woman who suffered cruelty and abuse from her drunkard husband for years. Sick of being mistreated, she sought a way to be rid of her husband. One day the woman gathered all sorts of roots, fruit, and leaves from around their house, hoping to poison her him. She added toasted rice powder to conceal the bitterness and stirred the soup until the ingredients were unrecognizable. When her husband returned home, drunk, he ate the soup she offered and went to bed.

In the morning, the woman found her husband alive and, surprisingly, in a good mood. He went to work and came home early, sober, asking his wife to make the soup again. Doubtful, the woman tried again to make poison soup with the same result for days. Her husband became healthier and more pleasant every day. The woman was surprised but joyful, and the two lived happily ever after. The healing soup came to be today’s samlo kakor.

This plant-based version includes a wide assortment of fruits and vegetables and classic herbs and spices. Blended spices and cook with classic fruits and vegetables including unripe papaya, unripe banana, pumpkin, long beans, various eggplants. Simmer with stock, toasted rice powder, and other ingredients. Add moringa leaves and other leafy vegetables, cook a little longer, then serve.

Babar phsaet(បបរផ្សិត) is another delicious and simpler one-dish Khmer soup.


(serves 2-3)

4 clove garlic
2 tsp salt
4 shallot, sliced
4 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and sliced
1 tbsp galangal
2 tbsp turmeric
½ green papaya, shredded
2 green banana, outer skin removed, shredded
1 cup pumpkin, chopped
1 cup green jackfruit, chopped(optional)
12 long bean, chopped
2 thai eggplant, chopped
½ cup toasted rice powder(rice, toasted and ground)
3 tbsp palm sugar
4 cup mushroom stock or water
1 cup oyster mushroom or other mushroom(optional)
½ cup pea eggplant
2 cup ivy gourd leaf or bitter melon leaf or amaranth leaf
1 cup moringa leaf

• pound garlic, salt, shallot, lemongrass, galangal, turmeric
• saute paste, papaya, banana, pumpkin, jackfruit
• stir in long bean, thai eggplant
• add mushroom stock, mushroom, rice powder, palm sugar
• simmer, continually stirring until softened, adding water as necessary
• add pea eggplant, ivy gourd leaf, moringa leaf
• simmer
• serve with rice