Saturday, 3 March 2007

The Secret of Fish Amok

Amok is a Cambodian curry which is steamed instead of boiled and is solid, but moist. There are traditionally two types of amok, one cooked with fish and streamed in banana leaf cups, simply known as amok, while the other, made from snails steamed in their shells, is known as amok chouk.

400 g meaty fish
2/4 cup coconut cream
2 cups coconut milk
1 egg, beaten
2 dried red chilies, soaked, drained and chopped into a paste
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp galangal, cut small
1 tbsp lemon grass stalk zest of ¼ kaffir lime
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp kapi (a shrimp paste)
300 g young nhor leaves (substitute: collard greens and super finely chopped lemon grass)
1 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp kaffir lime leaves, sliced thinly
3 cayenne peppers
Banana leaves to make cups

First make the kroeung, then slice the catfish thinly and set aside. Remove nhor from stem; slice the kaffir lime leaves and cayenne peppers thinly. Stir the kroeung into 1 cup of coconut milk, and when it has dissolved, add the egg, fish sauce and sliced fish. Then add the remaining coconut milk and mix well. Make the banana leave cups, then put the nhor in first, and top with the fish mixture. Steam for about 20 minutes or until the coconut milk is solid, but still moist. Before serving top each cup with coconut cream and garnish with kaffir leaf and cayenne peppers. Serve with steamed rice.

Making banana leave cups:
First clean the leaves with a wet cloth, then dip them into boiling water so they are soft and do not crack when being shaped. Cut cicles 25-cm in diameter and place two together. This is important as one leaf is not strong enough to hold the mixture. Mark a square in the middle of the circle, this will be the bottom of the cup. Then, put a thumb on one right angle of the square and pull up 2 sides, tucking the fold, and pinning together with a tiny bamboo stick. Then move the next right and repeat. Continue until all 4 sides of the cup are held together.


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