photo-icon David Sievers

Cambodian sour beef soup

Recipe from Rommy's Market Garden

Stall 37 | Adelaide Central Market

Rommy’s Market Garden has provided Market locals with the freshest fruits and vegetables since their opening. The produce available at Rommy’s is grown in Virginia, SA, a mere 45 minutes away from the CBD, and bought in daily. You can’t get much fresher or more local than that!

To find out the story behind this recipe, as well as store owner Rom Chea's 'must have' picnic items for spring, see our Adelaide Living article Spring Kitchen.

Cambodian sour beef soup

Recipe for Cambodian sour beef soup

Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Serves: 4–6

Spice paste (kroeung)

2 sticks lemongrass, finely chopped

10 g fresh turmeric, peeled and finely chopped

7 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

3 teaspoons (10 g) fresh galangal, peeled and finely


Beef soup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

500 g sirloin steak, thinly sliced

3 cups (750 ml) quality vegetable stock*

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 choko, peeled and sliced into 4 cm long pieces

1 tablespoon tamarind soup mix**

1 medium eggplant, cut into bite-sized cubes

1 medium green capsicum, halved, deseeded and sliced

1 medium red capsicum, halved, deseeded and sliced

1 bunch Thai basil

* For a wetter soup, add extra stock.
** Available from Asian grocers.

  • For the spice paste, using a mortar and pestle grind all the ingredients to a smooth paste. Set aside till required.
  • For the soup, heat oil in a large wok over medium-high heat. 
  • Add the spice paste to the pan and cook for 2 minutes or until aromatic, stirring continuously.
  • Add beef, stirring to combine. 
  • Then add half the vegetable stock, fish sauce and bring to the boil. Cook for 3 minutes. 
  • Add choko, cover and cook for a further 2–3 minutes. 
  • Add remaining stock, tamarind soup mix and bring to the boil. 
  • Add eggplant and capsicums, cover and cook for a further 1–2 minutes or until tender.
  • Divide soup between bowls, top with Thai basil