Ngam Ngov (pickled lime soup) is a traditional Cambodian soup made with pickled lime. The pickled lime is a common ingredient in many Cambodian dishes and adds a tangy, slightly salty, flavor to the soup, whereas the beef adds rich and savory notes, that complements the flavor of the pickled lime perfectly.
In this recipe, we are using beef, but variants with chicken, duck and pork are also common. The soup is usually served with rice and provides a hearty and satisfying meal, perfect for colder weather or any time you are craving something comforting and flavorful.
Recipe and notes by Linda Meas, Meas Family Homestay
Linda is also runs the social businesses Weavers Project and Taeko in Takeo, Cambodia.
Cambodian pickled lime: In the countryside in Cambodia, most families make their own pickled lime, but I think this style of pickled lime can be difficult to find abroad. I have heard that some Asian supermarkets have Vietnamese pickled lime, which can also be used. If you cannot find pickled lime, you can use the juice from fresh lime instead. Since you won’t get the saltiness from the pickled lime, you might want to add a little more salt and fish sauce to the soup to get the right balance of flavor. Don’t use Indian lime pickle, it is much too spicy for this soup.
Beef: You can use any beef cut you prefer for the soup, but some cuts might need to cook a bit longer, so extend the time the beef simmers in the soup accordingly. You might also need to add more water along the way, depending on how much water evaporates while the soup is simmering (or use a lid).
Fried garlic: I fry the garlic in the same oil that I use for cooking the beef. I fry the garlic in a small strainer so none of the garlic goes to waste.