How to cook fish amok at home
One of the most famous dishes in Cambodia is fish amok. It’s a kind of curry, but with a very local twist when it comes to spices used in it. Many restaurants offer it, at Cambodian homes it is mostly cooked vor special occasions. If you want to know how to cook fish amok at home, just follow our guide. We got the advise from our host Ms. Laum, who cooks on of the best fish amok in Siem Reap.
What do you need for fish amok?
The dish is made from fish, species and coconut milk. It dates back to the times of the Khmer empire, and recipes have changed over time. For fish you can use freshwater fish, from tilapia to any carps or catfish. Best get a fillet at the market. The secret ingredient of fish amok is the Cambodian fish paste know as kreung. It contains lemongrass, galangal, tumeric, kaffir lime and garlic. Depending on your taste you can add any amount of chili to it.
In Cambodia people will nut fresh coconut milk at the market, but a canned one will do it as well. Also, the original recipe requires no i tree leaves. They can be replaced with kaffir lime leaves.
Steaming or cooking?
There are two main ways of cooking fish amok. Or host Ms. Laum told people when asked how to cook fish amok at home that you can use a steamer or a pot. She herself steamed it for a while but now changed to just simmer it. The taste is basically the same, steamed fish amok is sometimes a bit more solid, in particular when egg was added.
- 100g noni leaves or kaffier lime leaves
- – 1 kg Cat/River fish
- – 1 Teaspoon fish paste
- – 2 Teaspoon salt
- – 200g Kroeung paste
- – 1Teaspoon palm/white sugar
- – 300ml coconut milk.
If you want to make kreung by yourself, just combine finely sliceed lemongrass, ginger finger root, turmeric, kaffir lime slices (small and thin pieces) add some peeled garlic. Put them in a blender or mortar and blend until its a fine paste. You can also buy kreung at the market.
How to cook fish amok at home in 45 minutes
1. Salt the fish and cut into cubes
2. Slice noni or kaffir lime leaves in fine stripes
3. Mix kreung paste with sliced chilli.
4. Add fish paste (fermented fish, in Cambodia known as prahok) and mix together.
5. add coconut milk and mix well.
6. The add the dish and mix again.
7. Transfer it to a pot. You may want to add brown or palm sugar and fish sauce.
8. Heat up with the lit closed unti it boils. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes. If you have noni tree leaves, you can put some pieces on top.
9. Serve with rice.
Even Cambodians learn again how to make fish amok at home
Since most ingredients, in particular kreung paste is nowadays available already mixed at markets, fish amok gets slowly back to the dining tables of Cambodians. Modern middle class families don’t have the time to squeeze coconut flesh in order to get the milk out of it. They just buy as much ingredients as they can an the market or supermarket. Some don’t even know how to make fish amok with a steamerwith a steamer at home any more – so they found a simpler way to cook it for the family.
If you want to make it while in Siem Reap, book this experience with Ms. Laum here. She will take you to all the steps and you have to work a bit before getting a yummy dinner in a local home in Cambodia.