If you’ve ever been to Cambodia, you’ll know the delight and deliciousness that is fish amok. Coconut-y, rich, and just the right amount of spice, there’s good reason it’s known as the national dish. And when one of our head local guides, Mr. Bunvath (that’s him below!), said he loved to cook this dish we knew we needed his recipe!
This recipe is for the traditional fish dish, but you could easily make a vegetarian version.
So here it is, straight from the source:
Fish Amok recipe
500 g cat fish (or choice of fish)
1 cup coconut cream
1 cup coconut milk
4-5 dried red chillies, diced and smashed into a paste
4 garlic cloves
2 tbsp lemon grass stalk, sliced thinly
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp Kapi (shrimp paste)
2 kaffir limes, zest of
2 fresh red chillies
Noni (A Mok) leaves, washed and sliced in .5cm strips (optional, see below)
Bone fish and slice it a little bit thick and set aside.
Pound the lemon grass stalk and zest of kaffir lime in a mortar then add garlic and shallot continuing to pound. When it’s finely ground, add dried red chilli paste and mix well.
Remove spices from the mortar to a big bowl then pour in the coconut cream and coconut milk, saving a bit of coconut cream for garnish. Add in sliced fish, egg, salt, sugar, fish sauce, and Kapi paste. Stir well about 5-7 minutes until combined.
From here you have two options: the more traditional cooking and serving method using a fresh coconut or the less exciting (but easier) stovetop method.
For the traditional way, place sliced Noni leaves into a ripe coconut (directions for preparing coconut below) and then add mixture from the bowl. If you’re using the stovetop method add mixture from bowl to a deep saucepan.
Drizzle the remaining coconut cream on top and garnish with strips of red chillies. Steam about 20 to 30 minutes or until cooked.
How to make a coconut cup:
Peel ripe coconut, polish well, then use a knife and cut 1/4 of its top. Discard the juice and clean well.
From Bunvath: “I hope you like it and enjoy your cooking. Thank you so much that you love our fellow Cambodian people and food!”
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