Beef and Water Spinach Sweet Sour Soup

October 16, 2022  Cambodian Chef Avatar
Beef and Water Spinach Sweet Sour Soup

Beef and Water Spinach Sweet Sour Soup, a delectable offering from Khmer Krom country cuisine, presents a symphony of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors in a soup that features tender beef slices and crisp green water spinach. This dish is both delicious and versatile, suitable for serving with or without the addition of pickle fish (pahok), showcasing the culinary preferences of the Cambodian people.

The recipe begins with heating a large soup pot, where vegetable oil, chopped garlic, and minced lemongrass are combined to create a fragrant base. Thinly sliced beef, whether from sirloin or chuck, is added to the pot along with salt and sugar, creating a flavorful blend. Water and kaffir lime leaf are introduced, and the mixture is cooked until it reaches a bubbling point, infusing the broth with rich beef essence.

The star of the soup, water spinach, is added to the boiling water, contributing both vibrant color and a delightful crunch. The seasoning process involves the addition of fish sauce, tamarind juice, and the optional creamy style pickle fish (pahok), creating a balance of savory, tangy, and umami flavors. The soup is topped with a handful of fresh herbs such as sweet basil leaves and rice paddy herb, along with chopped hot chili peppers for those who enjoy an extra kick.

Before serving, it’s important to remove the kaffir lime leaf. The Beef and Water Spinach Sweet Sour Soup is best enjoyed hot, served alongside rice, making it a comforting and satisfying meal that reflects the culinary traditions and preferences of the Khmer Krom community. Whether shared with family or savored individually, this soup is sure to tantalize the taste buds with its rich and harmonious flavor profile.


2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil
3 Cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 Cup of fresh or frozen minced lemon grass
1/2 Beef sirloin or beef chuck, sliced thin
1/2 Teaspoon of salt
1 Tablespoon of sugar
4 Cups of water
2 kaffir lime leaf
1 Bunch, approx 2 lbs (900 gram) of water spinach, cut 2 inches in length
2 Tablespoons of tamarind juice
2 Tablespoons of fish sauce
A handful of chopped fresh herbs; sweet basil leaves, and rice paddy herb (ma-om)
3 or 4 Chopped hot chili pepper or to your taste (option)
1 Tablespoon of creamy style pickle fish*pahok*, and only 1 tablespoon of fish sauce

Directions to make Beef and Water Spinach Sweet Sour Soup

  1. Heat up a large soup pot.
  2. When soup pot is hot, add oil, garlic and lemon grass, stirs well.
  3. Put beef, salt and sugar, stirs well.
  4. Add water and kaffir lime leaf, cook till water bubbling.
  5. Add water spinach to boiling water, stirs.
  6. Seasoning with fish sauce, tamarind juice and *pahok*, stirs well.
  7. Top with herbs and chili pepper.
  8. Removed kaffir lime leaf before serve.
  9. Serve hot with rice.

Serve hot with rice.

Enjoy it

Related Recipe: Beef Curry with Mango

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 2

Calories Per Serving: 915

% Daily Value
Total Carbohydrate ‏112g 41%
Cholesterol ‏100mg 33%
Total Fat ‏28g 36%
Saturated Fat ‏6g 30%
Dietary Fiber ‏16g 57%
Protein ‏62g 124%
Sodium ‏3748mg 163%
Sugars ‏38g 76%


30 min


30 min




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