Cambodian Beef Sticks (Grilled Khmer Beef)

Grilled Cambodia Khmer style beef sticks liven up a backyard bbq party as a delicious appie or fresh and summery light supper.

Cambodian Beef Sticks

Cambodian Beef Sticks

By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

My recipe of the day is with  the blogging group Eat the World, as this month we are exploring Cambodian recipes and for my selection I wanted to share one of my recipe for Grilled Khmer Cambodian Beef Sticks with you.

This delicious appetizer can also easily serve four as a  main course- I would add the accompanying items and also steamed rice.

It is made using flank steak,  which is sliced as thin as you  can easily do, across the grain, on a 45 degree angle or bias (just tilt the knife and cut as you would for roast).

Cambodian Beef Sticks


Prahok paste

The  marinade is made using an ingredient new  to me which is prahok paste,   which is made with fermented fish (fish sauce or nam pla is also made from fermented fish). I believe there are a couple of types, one being made with anchovy as the fish sauce is, and another made with mud fish.

It has a sneaky name so look closely for it!

At first I had a hard time finding it at the Asian market (CAM in Cincinnati) as it was not marked as being called “prahok”. It is rather called Mud fish sauce or “mam ca loc”. It comes in a jar and is a light brown color and looks like white miso paste. You might also see some kinds of this in differing textures- try to get the one which is the most smooth and emulsified. They seem to vary from smooth all  the way  up to a whole fish packed in the jar.

Stinky, eh? Like cheese?

It is said this stuff really stinks, and  is thusly called “Cambodia cheese” and I was  expecting to fall over from  rank odor when I opened the jar. Instead I found it tolerable, if not a bit  funky–and not even as stinky as fish sauce in the bottle, so if you are comfortable with that one you have no worries.

Keeps a good while, but you could share—

Being fermented,  it will last a long time- and they say you can keep it at room temp but I don’t trust that and prefer to keep it in the fridge. Of course, it will take awhile to use up so feel free to share half the jar with friends, and possibly get them to split the purchase cost with you.

Soak those sticks!

Don’t forget to soak your wooden skewers so they don’t burn up on the grill–overnight is good. Soak  a bunch, and  if you don’t use them all, dry them out on a towel  and put back into the bag for later, but don’t pack them up wet or there will be mold.

To eat these, I squeeze the lime over the meat, dip the meat in chilli sauce,  place it on lettuce. Eat like a lettuce wrap, if you have had those before you know how that works. The tomato and cukes just dip in the sauce and munch. And beware those   minced red peppers. They can be hatefully hot, but I like that. You might not. Depends on how chilehead crazy you are, or not.  You decide. Maybe dial down to a fresh jalapeno or something?

Eat the World Cooking Challenge

This recipe today is being  posted as part of Eat the World, where each month a group of adventurous bloggers takes on making a recipe from a different part of the globe. This month, the topic was for Cambodia in Southeast Asia.

Destination: Cambodia

Check out all the wonderful Cambodian dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

CulturEatz: Cambodian Green Mango Shrimp Salad
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Somlar Machu Ktiss (Cambodian Hot and Sour Coconut Soup)
Palatable Pastime: Grilled Cambodian Beef Sticks
Pandemonium Noshery: Khmer Lok Lak
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Loc Lac (Cambodian Beef with Lime)
Home Sweet Homestead: Cambodian Spring Rolls

Cambodian Beef Sticks

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Cambodian Beef Sticks

Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
No ratings yet
Prep Time 6 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Dish
Cuisine Asian, Cambodian
Servings 4 servings or 20 sticks


  • 1 pound beef flank steak
  • Marinade:
  • 1/4 cup chopped lemongrass or lemongrass paste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic or garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons grated galangal or fresh ginger
  • 1 medium red onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons prahok spice paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground dry turmeric
  • Other serving items:
  • fresh lettuce leaves sliced tomato
  • sliced cucumber I was out so omitted, but would have used it
  • fresh lime wedges
  • minced hot Thai chili
  • Thai sweet chilli sauce (Mae Ploi) as a dip


  • Thinly slice beef across the grain at a 45 degree angle; set strips aside.
  • I used lemongrass paste from the tube as it works easier for me, but you can use chopped.
  • If you do use the chopped, place it in the food processor (small bowl if you have that) along with the garlic, galangal, and onion; pulse into a thick paste, adding the lime juice and oil through the chute.
  • You could also grind this in a mortar but it's more work.
  • You could also use fresh turmeric but it stains your equipment, especially the food processor (so I advise not to).
  • After you get the paste together, stir in the ground turmeric in a stainless steel bowl (emphasis on stainless or glass).
  • Toss the marinade with the beef sticks to coat completely and marinate overnight.
  • I also soak wooden skewers overnight , weighing them down under cool water with a plate. You can use metal skewers if you like.
  • Thread up the beef onto the skewers.
  • Prepare grill and grill over moderate heat (three second rule) on an oiled grate until cooked through and lightly charred. Note that the thin slice and cut of beef should keep it where you can cook this well done without being tough (sort of like fajitas).


From the kitchen of
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Cambodian Beef Sticks

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