How to Cook Khmer Seafood Amok

A Wok Around Asia Recipe by Chef Chanrith Van of Courtyard by Marriott Siem Reap Resort

I knew very little about Khmer food prior to Siem Reap, but I had heard of Amok, a strong contender for the title of Cambodia’s national dish. I was also vaguely aware of some lively online debates as to what constitutes an authentic amok.

Chef Chanrith Van of Courtyard by Marriott Siem Reap Resort would later explain that there are in fact two broad versions of amok; one that’s steamed à la Thai Hor Mok or Penang Otak-Otak, and this one here which is like a mild curry.

Not knowing this at the time, I went into this shoot fully expecting to see steamed fishcake wrapped in banana leaf, so I think I deserve some credit in the video for hiding my surprise at the end.

Click to watch >>

Should you insist on the set custard version, just crack an egg into the sauce, mix well, transfer the ingredients onto a banana leaf and steam it for 8-10 minutes.

As with all recipes supplied by the chefs I work with, I try to keep any tweaking to an absolute minimum, hence why you might find some ingredient measurements different to what you might otherwise be accustomed to seeing.

PART 1

Amok Paste

INGREDIENTS:

25g lemongrass
¼ brown onion
1 garlic clove
1 kaffir lime leaf
10g turmeric
10g fresh krachai (Chinese ginger)
5g dried big chillies (soaked in hot water until soft)
50ml ice water

METHOD:

Combine all ingredients and blend to a smooth paste.

PART 2

Amok Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

30g olive oil
5cm young ginger
85g Amok paste
15g dried chilli paste
1.6g Prahook (fermented fish); (substitute with fish sauce)
25g Palm sugar
20ml fish sauce
25ml chicken stock
125ml water
½ tsp chicken powder
¼ tsp salt
400ml coconut cream

METHOD:

Combine chicken stock, water, chicken seasoning and salt; set aside.
Heat oil in wok, add ginger and saute until fragrant.
Add amok paste followed by dried chilli paste; fry for 30 seconds.
Add fermented fish sauce and palm sugar; cook until sugar is caramelised.
Add fish sauce, stock mixture and coconut cream. Simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from heat.

PART 3

Seafood Amok

INGREDIENTS:

50g butter catfish, sliced 1.5cm thick (substitute with any white fish fillets)
30g cuttlefish, cut 4cmx6cm
3 prawns, peeled; tail-on
50g oyster mushrooms, diced
180g Amok sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil or corn oil
2 tsps roasted peanuts, crushed
1 Amok (aka Noni) leaf, cut into 2mm strips (substitute with kai lan or spinach)
2 tsps coconut cream
3 pcs red needle flower (optional)
1 Tbsp deep-fried amok leaf

METHOD:

Season seafood with salt.
Heat oil until smoking hot; sear seafood. Remove and set aside
Wash wok, heat oil and saute mushrooms. Add 50g amok sauce and toss. Set aside.
Wash wok again, add seafood, amok sauce, crushed peanuts and amok leaves. Cook to 75C; remove from heat.
Place sauteed mushrooms on middle of plate, arrange seafood, flowers and deep-fried amok leaf and top with amok sauce.

My Wok Around Asia Siem Reap trip was made possible through the support of the following –

tn_Lenovo

Rode Mic

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