Fish Amok, or amok trei (អាម៉ុកត្រី in Khmer), is a dish that holds a special place in Cambodian cuisine, often hailed as the country’s national dish and commonly enjoyed during special occasions.
It is believed that Fish Amok has its roots in the Khmer Empire, dating back. from the 9th century. However, during the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s, much of Cambodia’s cultural and culinary heritage was destroyed, and the legacy of Fish Amok was nearly lost. Despite this tragic setback, the dish has managed to survive and thrive.The unique and alluring taste of this delectable dish is derived from the process of steaming a coconut milk-based curry in banana leaves. The recipe boasts a medley of fragrant herbs and spices, including lemongrass, turmeric, and kaffir lime leaves, that combine to create a complex and tantalizing flavor profile. While freshwater fish like catfish, snakehead fish, or goby or river bar fish are typically used, chicken or praws can also be used as alternatives. Fish Amok is usually paired with steamed rice and garnished with additional herbs, such as basil or cilantro. Although it may seem intimidating to prepare at home, making Fish Amok is a fun and rewarding culinary experience. In this article, we will offer a detailed guide on how to make this mouthwatering dish, complete with a list of ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and serving suggestions. Join us as we explore how Changkran Khmer’s Chef Mongkol prepares his favorite dish in his very own kitchen.
Fish Amok Recipe Ingredients: The perfect Blend of Spices and Coconut Milk
- 120g of Goby fish, skinned, boned, and thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. of yellow Kroeung (spice paste) made of:
2 fresh lemongrass chalks, pelled and minced
5 g of galangal, peeled and minced
1 tsp of kaffir lime zest
5 g of fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tsp of fish sauce
- 1 tsp of chicken powder (Khnor)
- 2 tsp of palm sugar
- ½ cup of coconut milk
- ½ tsp of shrimp paste
- 1 tsp of chili oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 noni leaves
For a fish amok recipe for two, just double up the quantities.
Fish Amok Recipe | Simple Cooking Instructions
You will find countless fish amok variations out there to suit all tastes. However, if you are looking for an authentic fish amok recipe, we’ve got you covered. Our recipe uses only the freshest local ingredients and traditional methods: the base, the fish amok paste, is made using a mortar rather than a food processor. This traditional method ensures that the flavors are perfectly balanced and the texture is just right.
- Make first the yellow kroeung paste by cutting the ingredients (lemongrass, garlic, galangal, shallots, turmeric and kaffir lime leaves ), place them in a mortar and using a pestle, pound the mixture until it forms a smooth paste.
- Mix the kroeung paste with the fish and other ingredients, excluding the Noni leaves.
- Place everything in a banana leaf basket and steam for 20 minutes in a steamer.
- Add garnishes such as coconut milk, Karfir lime leaf, and red chili.
Serve the fish amok immediately with steamed rice on the side, and enjoy your meal!
Cambodian Fish Amok Recipe FAQ’s
What is fish amok?
Fish amok is a traditional Cambodian dish made by steaming fish, coconut milk, and spices in banana leaf baskets. The plate is typically seasoned with lemongrass, turmeric, garlic, and other fragrant ingredients to create a rich and flavorful taste. Fish amok is often garnished with kaffir lime leaf and red chili to add flavor and spice. This dish is a staple in Cambodian cuisine and is often enjoyed as a main course with steamed rice on the side.
What does fish amok taste like?
Fish amok has a unique blend of flavors that gives it a distinctive taste. This dish is typically characterized by its creamy texture from coconut milk. The ingredients used, such as lemongrass, turmeric, and garlic, give it a delicious, aromatic, sweet, and slightly spicy flavour. The fish used in the recipe adds a light, fresh taste to the dish, and the kaffir lime leaf and red chili garnish provide a tangy, slightly bitter flavor with a hint of heat. Overall, fish amok is a flavorful and satisfying dish that will delight anyone who enjoys a taste of Cambodia.
What is amok usually made of?
Amok is a traditional Cambodian dish typically made with fish, although chicken or tofu can also be used. It includes a rich coconut milk sauce flavoured with spices, including lemongrass, turmeric, and garlic. The mixture is usually steamed in banana leaf baskets, which helps to infuse the dish with a unique, aromatic flavor. Amok is often garnished with kaffir lime leaf and red chili. The dish is often served with steamed rice on the side.
Is fish amok healthy?
Fish amok can be a healthy dish, depending on the specific ingredients used in the recipe. Fish is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other essential nutrients. Coconut milk, a common ingredient in fish amok, is rich in healthy fats and can help improve cholesterol levels. However, coconut milk is also high in calories and saturated fat, so it’s crucial to consume it in moderation. Additionally, using spices like turmeric and lemongrass in the recipe can provide various health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and promoting digestion. Ultimately, the healthiness of fish amok will depend on the specific ingredients and cooking methods used in the recipe.
What is the national dish of Cambodia?
The national dish of Cambodia is considered to be Amok Trey, also known as Fish Amok. It is a special dish for Cambodians but commonly found in restaurants in cities with international visitors like Siem Reap, Battambang and Phnom Penh.