Cambodian Amok

9 May

The motto of Fourchette & Knife is culinaria from around the world. Lately, I have noticed that I tend to post a lot of European recipes and I am neglecting a little bit all the great meals we got to taste during our 4 months backpacking trip to Asia and other beautiful spots with good food on this planet. Let´s change this!

Asian food is way too good not to mention it and what´s best: It´s easy and fast to prepare. Don´t be afraid of exotic ingredient  names. Well sorted grocery stores and Asian corner shops do sell just what you need at reasonable prices. One of my top 5 Asian recipes that I would like to share with you is from Cambodia and is called Amok. Don´t let the name irritate you, it`s a friendly dish :)

The first time we got to know Amok was while we were in Siem Reap to explore Angkor Wat, the temples you might remember from the movie Tomb Raider. I liked it so much that I got a pack of local Amok seasoning, which I took back home with me (actually, I believe that I smuggled it ;) I bought it from Senteurs d’Angkor (http://www.senteursdangkor.com), a great shop and everything is house-made there! Ingredients are grown locally and staff is from town.

Amok tastes like a mild curry and it´s  a common meal across Cambodia. The traditional version of it is served in a banana leaf, accompanied by white rice. If you are not a fan of fish, try the same recipe with chicken or even tofu.

Amok in the making

First picture: Amok in the making. My tip for you is to marinate the meat before you cook it. This dish should be steamed in a banana leaf but I can imagine that you won´t necessarily know where to get banana leaves for that, so the best you can do is to help yourself with a wok instead and wok meals always taste better if the meat is marinated in advance.

Amok

Ingredients (serves 5 people):

5 white fish filets (150g each), e.g. cod, bass
1/2 cabbage head or a small turnip cabbage (Kohlrabi in German)
4-5 carrots
1 onion
3-4 garlic cloves
1 can coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish or shrimp sauce (I used Pad Thai sauce)
1-2 teaspoons sambal oelek or roasted chili paste
1 inch galangal root (can be dried and can be substituted with ginger root)
1-2 stalks lemongrass (sliced)
1 egg (optional)
2-3 Kaffir lime leaves (dried)
Seasoning: 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon Amok seasoning (can be substituted with curry paste), 1 teaspoon sugar
Sesame oil or canola oil
Side dish: white Rice or naan bread

Preparation:

1) Rinse the fish meat under cold water and cut the filets into mouth big pieces.

2) In a blender, mix the fish sauce, chili paste, chopped lemongrass, chopped garlic, the seasoning and a half of the coconut milk.

3) Prepare a small casserole or pan to marinate the fish in the prepared sauce (my tip: marinate the fish a few hours in advance and store it in the fridge).

4) Slice the cabbage, carrots and the onion.

5) In a wok, preheat a bit of sesame or canola oil and saute the veggies.

6) Then add the fish, the remaining coconut milk, the galangal root and the Kaffir lime leaves. If you have an egg at hand, carefully whisk it into the sauce. Pay attention here, the fish meat should be covered in sauce. If that is not the case, add some water or more coconut milk. Let boil at low heat for 20-25 min until the fish meat is cooked and tender. Do not cook if for much longer as the fish meat might start to fall apart.

7) After 10 min, start to boil the rice (cooking time approx. 15-20 min, 2 cups of rice in 4 cups of water should be fine for 5 people) and serve it with the Amok dish.

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