Amok Curry: National Dish Of Cambodia
Khmer culinary art, which has grown for more than 1,000 years ago, plays an important role in Cambodian food, and now become a unique cultural feature of the country.
Referring to Khmer cuisine, Amok Curry - a type of steamed food, is one of the most popular dishes bringing a rich, distinctive flavor from the ‘Khmer's Land’. If you are a food lover, the dish is the first thing you cannot skip when traveling to Cambodia.
Overview Of Amok
Like Pad Thai in Thailand, Pho in Vietnam, or Peking Duck in China, Amok Curry is the national dish in Cambodia.
Amok dishes are served right after cooking when it’s still hot, and contained in a leaf receptacle, which is wrapped carefully with banana leaves like a bowl.
Amok Curry - Cambodian National Dish
Featuring a harmonious mix of umami taste from fresh meat (chicken or fish), greasy flavor of coconut cream, and slight typical scent of steamed banana leaves, Amok is a must-try dish that every traveler to Cambodia cannot miss.
If you’re worried that you cannot bear fierce spiciness, the dish is just slightly hot from fresh red chili, not too much like the cuisine in its neighboring country - Thailand.
What Is Inside Of Amok Curry
Due to its popularity, you can find this signature dish in any Cambodian restaurant, from cheap to high-end.
Fish Amok (Amok Trey)
Amok Curry includes Fish Amok and Chicken Amok, while Fish Amok is more common.
Due to the geographic location where the great Mekong River flows, rice and fish from rivers are two main vital sources to Cambodian people. So it’s no doubt that freshwater fish, such as snakehead or catfish, is used in Amok Trey.
Snakehead And Catfish
The second thing that creates this delicious dish is the kroeung (yellow or green kroeung is okay). Kroeung in English is a Cambodian curry paste mainly made from turmeric, galangal, and these ingredients are crushed with lemongrass, garlic, and shallots.
Freshwater fish, including snakehead and catfish|
A mixture of aromatic ingredients: lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, garlic, shallots, kaffir lime leaves, and shrimp paste (optional)|
Increase the richness and creaminess of the dish|
Play a role as a bowl to contain the food, as well as give a typical aroma for the amok|
Herbs & Vegetables|
Additional ingredients following your preference: bell peppers, green beans, or spinach|
Chopped red chili, some coconut cream, and cilantro|
Kroeung Main Ingredients
How To Cook
The process of making Fish Amok is quite simple. First, fish fillets are cut into small pieces, then you will marinate them with a special sauce that is a combination of Kroeung, coconut milk, and an egg.
After that, put the mixture into a leaf container, which is made from banana leaves. As the banana leaf is also a core ingredient, it can’t be changed to another type since the dish will not retain the original flavor.
Finally, steam the curry mix for around 20 to 30 minutes until mousse like consistency with a dark yellow color of ochre.
How To Make Amok Trey
Amok Trey is usually enjoyed with cooked rice in main meals
Fish Amok Can Be Served With Rice
Chicken Amok (Amok Sack Moan)
Chicken Amok is also a steamed curry dish with a similar recipe to Fish Amok yet the meat used in the dish is chicken, not freshwater fish. After being dipped in Kroeung paste, the mixture of chicken meat and curry will be put into a banana leaf vessel and served with hot boiled rice.
Chicken Curry In Khmer Is Called Amok Sach Moan
Boneless and skinless chicken. Breasts and thighs are usually chosen to make chicken amok|
The same as Amok Trey, with these ingredients: lemongrass, galangal, ginger, garlic, shallots, and turmeric|
Enhance a fine aroma on the dish|
Thinly cut kaffir lime leaves and red chili slices|
How To Cook
Firstly, you will make the paste by using the mortar and crushing these ingredients together: garlic, turmeric, red chili (or chili powder), onion, ginger, and lemongrass. Then mix the combination with some coconut milk.
Add the sauce into the pan until it’s simmering, then stir with the chicken. When the meat is soft, and the sauce thickens nicely, put it into a bowl made of banana leaves.
The spiciness of the dish can be adjusted by increasing or reducing the amount of chili peppers. Usually savored with boiled rice, the rich and creamy texture of Amok Sach Moan will make every mouthful a delight
Chicken Amok & Fish Amok
Where To Eat
Grand Steak restaurant
(Formerly Anachak Steak Restaurant)
Address: 170a Sivutha Boulevard, Siem Reap 17000
Opening hours: 09:00- 23:00
Price range: US $3 - 12
Address: Oknha Tep Phan St. (182), Phnom Penh
Opening hours: 08:00 - 17:00
Samaky Restaurant and Lounge|
Address: 9E0, Street 51, corner 278 in the west of Wat Langka, Phnom Penh
Opening hours: 08:00 - 23:30
Price range: US $5 - 15
Not only an important part of Cambodian history, but Amok Curry also represents the country’s rich tradition. Trying Amok Curry is an interesting way to catch a glimpse of Cambodian customs, as food is one of the key factors in understanding culture.
The best way to taste authentic Amok Curry is by traveling to Cambodia. Let’s take a look at our tour of the ‘Land of the Khmer’!