Neighborhood Kitchens

Simply Khmer's Som-Law-Ma-Ju-Yuon

This Cambodian sweet and sour soup features green fuzzy squash, pineapple chunks, and lotus root.


5 cloves peeled garlic
2 oz. soybean oil
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, cut about 2” long
3 cups water
1 slice galangal root
3 oz. lotus root, peeled & cut into strips
3 oz. green fuzzy squash, cut into strips
1 tomato, cut into chunks
3 oz. pineapple chunks
2 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. tamarind powder
2-1/2 Tbs. fish sauce
2 stems sweet basil
1 longleaf chee bonla (saw mint)
3 stems ma’om
10 shrimp


Crush the 5 cloves of garlic. Slowly sauté the garlic in hot soybean oil until golden brown, then remove from the oil and set aside.

Cut off root of lemongrass (about 2 inch off of end) and strip away outer leaves of until the white-light green center leaves are visible. Cut about 2 inches from the bottom, and place the 2-inch piece in hot water.

Add the thin slice of galangal root, the lotus root strips, and the fuzzy squash to the hot water and boil for 10 minutes. Once boiling, add the tomato and pineapple, as well as the sugar, tamarind powder, and fish sauce. Allow 5 minutes for soup to continue to cook at a medium boil.

While mixture is cooking, finely chop the sweet basil. Fold chee bonla leaf in half, and chop finely. Finely chop the ma’om.

Add shrimp to the ingredients in the boiling water and allow to cook for 3 minutes.

Remove the soup from heat, and add the chopped herbs (basil, chee bonla, ma’om). Add an additional tablespoon of fried garlic, and serve the soup in bowls.

Serves: 2


Sam Neang and Denise Ban are the chefs and owners of Simply Khmer, a Cambodian restaurant in Lowell, Mass. They shared this recipe with us when they were featured as our guests on Neighborhood Kitchens.


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About Neighborhood Kitchens

Building on a 35-year history of producing Latino and multicultural programming, WGBH’s award winning La Plaza team has a new offering — Neighborhood Kitchens, a series about the exploration of culture through food. Every week the show offers a unique window into immigrant communities in New England.

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In each episode, host Margarita Martínez visits a different ethnic restaurant and learns three delicious recipes from the chef. She also explores the restaurant’s neighborhood, discovering hidden gems along the way. Join her as she learns about new ingredients, new cultures, and new neighborhoods. ¡Hasta pronto!

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Margarita's Neighborhood Visits

»Boston: Bristol Lounge
»Boston's South End: Orinoco, Teranga and Oishii
»Boston's Back Bay: Casa Romero
»Boston's North End: Taranta
»Roxbury: Merengue
»Boston's Beacon Hill: Scampo
»All Around Boston: Mei Mei Street Kitchens
»Cambridge: Muqueca, Oleana, and Sandrine's
Somerville: Dosa Temple
»Lawrence: Cafe Azteca
»Lowell: Simply Khmer

»Fresh from the Fish Market
»Jamaica Plain: Tres Gatos
»Dorchester: Pho Le and Cafe Polonia
»Medford: Bistro 5
»Portland, ME: Emilitsa
»Newport, RI: Tallulah on Thames
»Pawtucket, RI: Rasoi


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