Cambodian Gumbo

With a thick consistency and deep, rich flavor, it’s no wonder this soup is known as Cambodian Gumbo!

Somlaw Kawko – A hearty and thick soup with roasted rice and variety of vegetables and your choice of protein
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Cambodian
Keyword: Cambodian Soup, Gumbo, Samlor Kako, Samlor Koko, Samlor Korko, Somlaw Kako, Somlaw Karko, Somlaw Kawko
Servings: 10
Calories: 264kcal
Author: Channy Laux


  • Large pot (8 to 10 quarts)


  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Prahok*
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs* 1" cubes
  • 7 ounces Angkor Lemongrass Paste
  • 1 small green papaya* partially skinned, deseeded, and shredded
  • 1 small winter melon* remove skin and cut into bite size
  • 1 bitter melon deseeded and sliced crosswise ¼" thick
  • 5 Thai eggplant (trob sroy)* discard stem and cut into bite size
  • 1/2 small kabocha pumpkin remove some skin and cut into 1.5" cubes
  • 2 cups roasted rice course ground
  • 10 cups water
  • 1/2 pounds green leaves (pepper tops, pumpkin tops, moranga, tomato tops)* remove stems


  • Prepare the base – Cook prahok in oil over low heat until the moisture evaporates and prahok begins to change color, takes about 10 minutes. Stir in chicken and increase heat to medium, continue stirring until the meat becomes firm. Add lemongrass paste and stir occasionally for 8-10 minutes until the meat is fully cooked. Remove meat from the pot and set aside.
  • Add vegetables – Stir in vegetables until they begin to wilt and they are evenly coated with the soup base.
  • Add Roasted Rice – Add roasted rice and mix well. Stir occasionally to allow the veggies to wilt and volume reduces by about 1/4. Add water and continue cooking until veggies are tender to your liking.
  • Add leaves – Turn off the heat, add green leaves and mix well. Salt to taste.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 264kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 704mg | Potassium: 299mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 115IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg


Traditionally this soup is served with a small bowl of fish sauce, sliced Thai Chili, and steamed rice. I sometimes add extra roasted rice and enjoy this soup without any steamed rice.  
  • Prahok can be substituted with Anchovy paste or 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • Chicken can be substituted with any white fish
  • Green papaya can be substituted with carrot, they have the same sweetness and texture
  • Winter melon can be substituted with Chayote or any squash with firm flesh
  • You can use any eggplant, my favorite is pearl eggplants (Trop Rumgnung) but they are hard to come by. If you are lucky enough to get access to Trop Rumgnung, be sure to dry roast them first and add them to the soup after the green leaves.
This is a wonderful soup to make when you have your own backyard garden.  Many of the tender tops of your garden are perfect for the leaves ingredient in this soup Get More From Your Garden. You can also use kale as a substitute for these green leaves.   
Tried this recipe?Mention @AngkorFood or tag #angkorfood, thank you!