Cambodian Grilled Lemongrass Beef Skewers

They're perfect for the grill or any special occasion.

Plate With Sach Ko Jakak (Cambodian Grilled Lemongrass Beef Skewers) With a Mound of Rice and Sliced Daikon Radish and Carrot Pickle, and in the Surroundings, a Glass of Water and a Plate With More Skewers

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

When I think of beef lemongrass skewers, it reminds me of family reunions, Cambodian New Year, and even my own wedding rehearsal, where I had a buffet of my favorite Cambodian dishes, which made the day even more memorable. Lemongrass beef skewers are always the first to be consumed at any event. Who can resist fragrant, succulent steak skewered on a stick? On the other hand, beef lemongrass skewers can also be served as a special weekday dinner. 

The only problem with having lemongrass beef skewers at a party is all the skewers poking out of the trash bag at the end of the party! You can easily resolve this by breaking the skewers in multiple pieces before throwing them away. 

Sach Ko Jakak (Cambodian Grilled Lemongrass Beef Skewers) in a Platter Surrounded by a Plate With Sliced Carrot and Daikon Radish Pickle and a Bowl of Rice and a Yellow Kitchen Towel Next to It

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

What Is Kroeung (or Krueng)? 

Kroeung is a paste used in the majority of Cambodian dishes. While the recipe for kroeung differs from household to household, it typically includes lemongrass, makrut lime leaves, galangal, turmeric, garlic, shallots, dried red chiles, and ginger root. Traditionally it is pounded in a stone mortar and pestle. Now, it can all be combined in a food processor.  

Kroeung can be used to add acidity or a beautiful fragrance to dishes. When used with meats, it provides great flavor and acts as a tenderizer. Ready-made kroeung can be found online. Angkor Cambodian Food brand makes kroeung that you can use for this recipe.  

The Best Beef for These Skewers

I love to use beef that has some marbling. The marbling will prevent the skewer from becoming too dry when cooked. You can use boneless ribeye or even chuck. The kroeung will tenderize the meat, so I would not use anything too expensive.  

When making lemongrass beef skewers, you will need to slice the meat into 1/8-inch slices. It can be hard to cut thin slices when the beef is room temperature. However, when you put meat in the freezer for 30 minutes to partially freeze it, the water in the meat will freeze and crystallize and will give it firmness and structure, making it easier to cut.   

Sach Ko Jakak (Cambodian Grilled Lemongrass Beef Skewers) in a Platter Surrounded by a Plate With Sliced Carrot and Daikon Radish Pickle and a Bowl of Rice and a Yellow Kitchen Towel Next to It

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Substitutions

Some of the ingredients listed for this recipe may only be found in specialty stores. Not to worry, you can easily substitute them with ingredients that can be found in your local supermarket.  

  • Chicken bouillon powder: I love using bouillon powder because it adds lots of umami and flavor. If you cannot find this product you can use 1/2 teaspoon bouillon paste or 1 cube. 
  • Oyster sauce: If you do not have oyster sauce, you can use dark soy sauce or hoisin sauce.
  • Shaoxing wine (or Chinese rice wine): You can always use dry sherry or mirin. If you use mirin, reduce the brown sugar to 1 tablespoon. 
  • White pepper: Use black pepper instead. 

Make Ahead and Storage 

This recipe is perfect to make ahead. Once you marinate your beef and skewer it, place 1 layer of skewers on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Make sure the skewers are not overlapping or touching each other. If you need to do another layer, place parchment paper on top of the skewers and repeat. At this point you can freeze the skewers until solid.

Once skewers are completely frozen, remove the skewers from the sheet pan and place them in a gallon zip-top bag. When you are ready to eat, remove the desired amount of skewers and cook—no need to thaw. 

Plate With Sach Ko Jakak (Cambodian Grilled Lemongrass Beef Skewers) With a Mound of Rice and Sliced Daikon Radish and Carrot Pickle

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

What to Serve With Lemongrass Beef Skewers 

The best way to eat lemongrass beef skewers is with something pickled. Traditionally, lemongrass beef skewers are served with pickled carrots and daikon. I also love to make a quick pickled salad of radish, cucumbers and carrots tossed in rice wine, salt, sugar and have white jasmine rice on the side.

More Skewers to Grill

Cambodian Grilled Lemongrass Beef Skewers

Prep Time 6 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Marinade Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 6 mins
Servings 3 to 4 servings as a main dish
Yield 18 skewers

The marinating time includes the 30 minutes of freezing time for the beef.

Kroeung is a paste used in Cambodian dishes. You’ll likely need to order it online. Angkor Cambodian Food brand makes kroeung that you can use for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless ribeye or chuck steak, at least 1 inch thick

  • 1/2 cup kroeung

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil

  • 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce

  • 1/2 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder

  • 1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine

  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce

  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper

Special Equipment

  • 20 bamboo skewers

Method

  1. Freeze the beef: 

    Unwrap the beef and freeze for 30 minutes to firm it up so it’s easier to slice.

  2. Slice the beef: 

    Remove the beef from the freezer and trim off any big pockets of fat. From the short side of the beef, slice 1/8-inch thick and place in a medium bowl.

    Slab of Beef Cut Into Slices on a Cutting Board for Cambodian Grilled Lemongrass Beef Skewers

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

  3. Marinate the meat:

    Add the kroeung, brown sugar, garlic, oil, oyster sauce, chicken bouillon powder, Shaoxing wine, fish sauce, and white pepper to the bowl with the beef. Mix thoroughly with clean hands. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for 2 hours in the fridge.

    Bowl of Marinade for Grilled Lemongrass Beef Skewers

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

    Meat Marinating in a Bowl for Sach Ko Jakak Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

  4. Soak the bamboo skewers:

    Place the bamboo skewers in a container that will allow the bamboo skewers to lie flat. Fill the container with water until it completely covers the bamboo skewers. Soak for at least 30 minutes. This step prevents the bamboo skewers from burning when the meat is cooking.

    Bamboo Skewers Soaking in a Baking Pan for Cambodian Beef Skewers

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

  5. Assemble the skewers:

    Thread the marinated slices of meat onto the skewers, making sure that there are no spaces between each piece of meat.

    Marinated Beef Added to Bamboo Skewers and Resting on a Parchment Paper Lined Baking Pan

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

  6. Grill: 

    Turn a clean grill to high heat while the hood is closed. Wait for 5 minutes to allow the grill to heat up. Once the grill is hot, place the skewers on the grill. Do not crowd the grill. Cook for 3 minutes each side.

    Skewered Marinated Beef on the Grill for Cambodian Grilled Lemongrass Beef Skewers Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

    Cambodian Grilled Lemongrass Beef Skewers Flipped on the Grill

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

  7. Serve:

    Serve immediately. 

    Simple Tip!

    To keep the pointy ends of the used skewers from poking out of your trash bag, break the skewers in half first.

    Refrigerate leftovers, tightly wrapped, for up to 3-4 days.

    Love the recipe? Leave us stars and a comment below!

    Cambodian Grilled Lemongrass Beef Skewers on a Green Lettuce Lined Platter

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
346 Calories
24g Fat
5g Carbs
28g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 346
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 30%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 91mg 30%
Sodium 659mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 28g
Vitamin C 2mg 8%
Calcium 30mg 2%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 311mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.