Ever wondered How to make Fish Amok from Cambodia? Well the amazing Budget Travel Talk will walk you though this amazing recipe. Cambodian food is fresh and very delicious.
A wise woman once told me that food and travel are one and the same thing and I must say I agree with her. While it is possible to experience the tastes of a country without actually travelling to it, recreating dishes at home, having first tasted them in their home country, is rewarding. In my case Travel in Cambodia and eating Fish Amok – that flavourful but not too spicy Khmer curry – are forever entwined.
Cambodian Cuisine is Khmer Cuisine and shows influences from Thailand, Vietnam and France with even a hint of India in the curries.
The Tonle Sap (river) meets the Mekong at Phnom Penh. During monsoon season the Mekong swells and the flow of the Tonle Sap river is magically reversed, expanding the Tonle Sap (Great Lake) monumentally. It is a mind-boggling scene with every man and his dog, throwing cast nets into any body of water they can find.
As fish and rice both grow in water, it comes as no surprise that Fish Amok is so popular.
Battambang is at the very top of the lake on the north-western side while Siem Reap is a little closer on the north-east. The best way to visit both towns is in a lazy road loop starting and finishing at Phnom Penh.
We learned to cook Fish Amok in Battambang, at Nary Kitchen – a restaurant and cooking school in the once Khmer Rouge stronghold. A pre-cooking shopping trip to nearby Phsa Nat, the central market is included.
Fish Amok traditionally calls for fresh water Catfish known locally as Snake Fish, but at home in Australia I substitute thick pieces of Barramundi, cut into 25mm cubes.
How to make Fish Amok from Cambodia
- 100 g freshwater fish fillets cut into cubes
- 20 g sliced lemon grass
- 1 Kaffir lime leaf
- 1 cm fresh galangal
- 1 cm fresh turmeric (substitute ¼ tsp turmeric powder)
- 2 cm fresh finger root (Chinese ginger)
- 2 red sundried peppers (substitute 2 tsp ground paprika)
- 150 ml or 6 to 8 tbsp of coconut milk
- ½ tsp Chicken Stock powder
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic
- ½ tsp white or brown sugar
- Pinch of Salt
- ½ tsp boneless Prahok – Khmer fish paste (substitute shrimp paste)
- 1 Noni, spinach or kale leaf
- 2 pieces of banana leaf to make a bowl (substitute a ceramic bowl).
Find in an Asian food store or if making from scratch, cut a square of leaf and hold it over heat to make it pliable first.
Pinch of cornflour to thicken the coconut milk.
Method for cooking Fish Amok from Cambodia
Make lemongrass paste.
- Rinse and soak red sun dried pepper to re-soften for 1 min.
- Thinly slice one finger sized piece of lemongrass (root end)
- Slice into small pieces: Kaffir-lime leaf, galangal, turmeric, finger-root and garlic.
- Place lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaf, galangal, turmeric, finger-root, peeled garlic, soaked pepper, Prahok or shrimp paste in mortar and pound for 10 minutes or longer until a very fine lemongrass paste is formed. This is important.
- Cut fish into 25 mm or 1”cubes and place in bowl with stock powder, salt, sugar, 1 tbsp lemongrass paste, 3 or 4 tbsp coconut milk. Let mixture sit to infuse.
- Make banana leaf bowl and trim
- Tear Noni leaf into small pieces and place in banana bowl. Transfer marinated fish mixture into bowl and steam for 20 to 25 mins.
- Pour coconut milk thickened with the cornflour on top and garnish with thinly sliced kaffir lime leaf and red fresh sweet chilli.
- Serve with steamed rice.
- Serves 1 or 2 persons.
How to make coconut cream,
- Pour 50 ml or 4 to 5 tbsp coconut milk in pot and add pinch of corn flour. Stir over low flame 1 minute or till thick.
Want to do a cooking school in Cambodia, then here is a place to go ..Nary Kitchen