Fish amok is one of the most well-known Cambodian dishes, but you’ll find similar meals in neighboring countries.
The addition of slok ngor, a local herb that imparts a subtly bitter flavor, separates the Cambodian version from the pack.
Fish amok is a fish mousse with fresh coconut milk and kroeung, a type of Khmer curry paste made from lemongrass, turmeric root, garlic, shallots, galangal and fingerroot, or Chinese ginger.
At upscale restaurants fish amok is steamed in a banana leaf, while more local places serve a boiled version that is more like a soupy fish curry than a mousse.
For the curry paste (kroeung)
3 dried chillies, soaked
6 cloves garlic
2 shallots or 1 red onion, diced
2 inch piece fresh turmeric root or 1 tsp turmeric powder
4 sticks of lemongrass, trimmed of woody bits
2 inch piece of galangal, peeled
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled
6 kaffir lime leaves or the zest of a citron fruit (look in Asian shops)
1 tbsp shrimp paste
For the curry (amok)
400g of meaty fish (with skin if possible) eg hake, pollock, cod
400ml coconut milk (a standard can)
1 tbsp palm or brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 large banana leaves, washed (look in Asian or Caribbean shops)
1 fresh red chilli, seeds removed
2 kaffir lime leaves
Make the curry paste by blitzing in a blender.
Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a saucepan and then add the curry paste and fry till fragrant (about a minute). Then add the coconut milk, sugar and fish sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Leave to cool.
Remove the fish skin, slice it into small strips and keep to one side. Dice the fish into bite sized chunks.
Beat the eggs gently into the cooled coconut milk mixture and add the chunks of fish. This is your amok. Set the amok to one side.
Take one banana leaf and fold in half so it makes a square. Overlap two corners of the square and secure with a cocktail stick. Overlap the other two corners and do the same. You should get a rough bowl or cup shape with no gaps. Repeat with the other banana leaf to get two bowls.
Place the banana leaf bowls in a steamer and divide the amok into them equally. Steam the amok for 20 minutes. It should form a lightly set custard.
Meanwhile, dust the fish skin strips with flour, salt and pepper and then fry in a little vegetable oil till crisp. Drain and set to one side.
Sliver the fresh red chilli and the kaffir lime leaves for the garnish.
When the amok is ready, just before serving, scatter the fried fish skin, slivered chilli and slivered lime leaves on top. Eat with steamed rice.
Tags: Mango 2 days Ben Tre – Cai Be – Sa Dec, Mango 2 Days Can Tho – Vung Liem – Ben Tre, Mango 2 days My Tho – Mo Cay – Cai Be
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