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Fish Amok: A Taste of Cambodia's Culinary Heritage

November 08, 2023 - 483 views

Fish Amok, a traditional and iconic dish, represents the rich flavors and cultural heritage of Cambodia. This delectable curry dish showcases the unique blend of aromatic herbs, spices, and fresh ingredients that make Cambodian cuisine truly special.

In this article, we will explore the history and ingredients of Fish Amok, as well as provide a step-by-step guide on how to prepare this mouthwatering dish in your kitchen.

Fish Amok - Amok Trey

Some Facts About Fish Amok

Fish Amok originates in the Khmer Empire. This national dish is associated with royal cuisine and was often served to Cambodian royalty and nobility. Here are several notable facts about Cambodian Amok Trey:

  • It is traditionally cooked by steaming the fish and curry mixture in banana leaves. 
  • The key flavor component of Fish Amok is the kroeung, a Cambodian spice paste made from lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, garlic, other herbs, and spices.
  • Fish Amok gets its rich and creamy texture from adding coconut milk. 
  • While fish is the most commonly used protein, the dish can also be prepared with other seafood, such as shrimp or mixed vegetables for vegetarian versions. 
  • Fish Amok is traditionally enjoyed with steamed jasmine rice. 

Fish Amok Overview

Fish Amok Overview

The dish has evolved over time, but its essence and flavors remain true to its historical roots. Today, Fish Amok is a popular dish enjoyed by locals and tourists alike, both in Cambodia and worldwide.

 

Main Ingredients 

Fish Amok incorporates a variety of key ingredients that contribute to its distinct flavor and aroma. Here are some of the essential components used in Fish Amok:

  • Fish: This is the main protein that can be white fish fillets such as snapper, cod, or tilapia and typically cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Kroeung: As mentioned above, Kroeung is a vital ingredient in Fish Amok. It forms the base of the curry and provides a distinct flavor profile.
  • Coconut Milk: A key component that balances the flavors and adds a hint of natural sweetness to the dish.
  • Fish Sauce: Being made from fermented fish and salt, fish sauce is a common ingredient in Cambodian cuisine and enhances the savory umami taste. 
  • Sugar: A small amount is often added to balance the flavors and provide a touch of sweetness.
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves: They should be thinly sliced for flavoring.
  • Banana Leaves: For wrapping and steaming.
  • Eggs: Optional, for binding.
  • Fresh Herbs: Such as basil or cilantro, for garnish.

02 Fish Amok Ingredients

Fish Amok Ingredients

These ingredients work together to create the unique taste experience of Fish Amok, with a blend of fragrant spices, creamy coconut milk, and the delicate flavor of the fish. It's worth noting that while these ingredients are typical, there can be variations in the recipe depending on personal preferences and regional variations.

 

Step-by-Step Cooking Instruction

Let’s take a look at the simple steps to cook a distinctive Amok Trey:

  1. Prepare the fish by cutting it into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Add the Amok paste and stir-fry for a minute until fragrant.
  3. Slowly pour in the coconut milk while stirring continuously to combine it with the Amok paste.
  4. Add the torn kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, palm sugar, and tamarind paste (if using) to the pan. Stir well to dissolve the sugar and incorporate the flavors.
  5. Gently place the fish pieces into the curry mixture, ensuring they are evenly coated. Let the fish simmer in the sauce for about 5-7 minutes or until cooked through and tender.
  6. Add the thinly sliced vegetables to the pan and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, allowing them to soften while still retaining their crunch.
  7. Taste the curry and adjust the seasoning if needed. You can add more fish sauce for saltiness, palm sugar for sweetness, or tamarind paste for tanginess, according to your preference.
  8. Once the fish and vegetables are cooked to perfection, remove the pan from the heat.
  9. Serve the Fish Amok over steamed jasmine rice garnished with fresh herbs such as cilantro or Thai basil.
  • When steaming, ensure that the banana leaf parcels are securely wrapped to prevent leakage.
  • To easily use banana leaves, soften them by briefly passing them over an open flame or dipping them in boiling water beforehand.
  • If the curry appears too thick, add a small amount of water or coconut milk to achieve the desired consistency. 

Best Places To Eat

The Sugar Palm

  • Address: Street 27 opposite Pannasastra University, Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Opening hours: 5:30 - 21:30. Closed on Monday.
  • Price range: From US $8

The Sugar Palm is a famous restaurant with traditional Khmer dishes. Guests coming here will also be conveyed the colorful quintessence of the owner of traditional Khmer cuisine. This restaurant is also renowned for its fish Khmer dish with traditional preparation that you should not miss.

Elegant Interior Inside The Sugar Palms

Elegant Interior Inside The Sugar Palms

Nary Kitchen

  • Address: 650 111, Krong Battambang, Cambodia
  • Opening hours: 08:00 - 22:00
  • Price range: From US $5 - 10

Nary Kitchen is a famous restaurant in Battambang province of Cambodia. This is an ideal place for you to enjoy authentic fish amok and other delicious amok dishes.

Learn Cooking At Nary Kitchen

Learn Cooking At Nary Kitchen

Malis Restaurant Phnom Penh

  • Address: 136 Norodom Boulevard, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Opening hours: 06:15 - 22:30
  • Price range: From US $8 - 35

This restaurant is run by a famous top chef, Luu Meng. Malis specializes in serving delicious Khmer dishes with modern processing. This restaurant has fulfilled its mission of reviving the unique flavors of the Khmer people, which were wiped out under the Khmer Rouge regime. When coming to Phnom Penh, you should take advantage of this remarkable place to eat fish amok.

Malis Restaurant With Deluxe White Design

Malis Restaurant With Deluxe White Design

With each spoonful of Fish Amok, you will experience the harmonious blend of creamy coconut milk, aromatic spices, and tender fish. The delicate balance of flavors, combined with the vibrant colors of the vegetables, creates a feast for both the eyes and the palate. 

So, don’t miss the chance to visit this country to savor this flavor by finding your best Cambodian tour with BestPrice Travel.

(Image Source: Internet)

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