Cambodia’s national dish, Fish Amok, is a fish curry cooked in banana leaf. This is surprisingly simple to make despite the complex flavour profile. One of my favourite things to eat!
WATCH VIDEO: if you’re a visual learner, watch me make it here.
Mum’s Fish Amok (Cambodian Curry Fish)
- Mortar & pestle (recommended) or blender
- 3 Lemongrass finely sliced
- 1 Shallot minced
- 2 Garlic minced
- 2 Kaffir Lime leaves finely sliced
- A thumb's worth of Galangal or Ginger minced
- A thumb's worth of Turmeric minced
- Up to ½ a teaspoon Shrimp paste (optional, depends on how much 'funk' you want)
Fish & Amok
- 2-3 Banana leaves (if not available, you can steam it in a bowl)
- Toothpicks (for the banana leaf cups)
- 250 g White fish of choice (you want a tender fish, I use snapper)
- 1½ Fish sauce
- 2 Eggs
- A pinch Salt
- 1 teaspoon Palm sugar (substitute: coconut sugar)
- 250 ml Coconut milk
- A handful of Your soft leafy green of choice (I use spinach)
- In a mortar & pestle (or blender), pound/blend the ingredients to a paste like consistency.
- Cut the fish into small, 5cm pieces.
- In a bowl, mix coconut milk, 1½ tablespoon of the lemongrass paste, fish sauce, eggs and sugar together. Add a pinch of salt (reduce if you're using shrimp paste, as it's salty). Then toss this mixture through the fish, coating thoroughly.
- Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
Prepare the banana leaves
- If you don't have banana leaves, skip this step and simply steam the fish in a bowl or by your method of choice.
- While the fish is marinating, prepare your banana leaves. You will be steaming the fish in banana leaf bowls. To make your bowls, cut your banana leaves into circles (as per this video tutorial). Then toast these circles in a pan low-on medium heat . This step will soften the banana leaves, which will ensure the leaves don't break when you're folding them into bowls. Finally, continue watching this video and fold them into bowls, using toothpicks to secure them.
Cook your fish!
- First, add your leafy greens into the banana leaf bowl. Then add your fish on top of the greens. Only fill until half full as the filling will rise as it steams. Fill any space up with the marinade mixture. When they're done, add them into the steamer to cook.
- Leave to steam for 10 minutes. Then open up the lid & add a teaspoon of coconut milk on top of the fish filling. Close and leave to steam for another 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.
- When ready to serve, garnish with thinly sliced kaffir lime leaf and thinly sliced fresh chilli.