Saturday, 15 December 2007

The search for the best Fish Amok continues

When I heard I was coming back to Cambodia, one of the first things I did was to enroll in a Khmer cooking class. After all the Fish Amok search continues... I knew Frits from the restaurant Frizz was offering classes. Even days: Fish Amok, odd days: other dishes. I had registered for an odd day - December 15th... but fortunately I could influence the training schedule and managed to get Fish Amok on the menu.

Anyway, the day started off well. We all met at 9 am sharp in front of Frizz. We that is: Wayne, a Kiwi who's lived in Phnom Penh for four years and had to learn some Khmer cooking skills before heading home for good. Marianne and Pascal from the Flemish part of Belgium - both eager to learn and really lovely. I couldn't figure out though if those two are dating or not. And finally, a funny Dutch guy whose name I have forgotten who obviously loves his food and was keen on talking environment -- Holland is ready for an arctic meltdown!

We kicked off at the market, behind the Wat Ounalom pagoda. Hak, our cook for the day, showed us kaffir lime, galangal, tumeric and all the other ingredients you need for traditional Khmer cooking.

We then hopped onto tuktuks and made our way across the Tonlé Sap River to Frits' villa right on the Mekong river. The view on Asia's biggest river and the many fisher boats floating by is amazing. The cooking class takes place under a tree facing the Mekong.

Every student has a little gas stove and all the cooking utensils you can dream of - including a huge mortar.
I decided on the spot that we HAVE to buy a big version asap, our mini version just won't do the trick.

So, what was on the menu?
1. Saing Jayk or Banana Flower Sausage - actually rather nice. I'm usually not a big meat eater, but I was pretty impressed.
2. Samlor Kor Ko, a vegetarian soup based on a green curry.
3. Fish Amok - nice, nice, nice!!!
4. Num Batt or ceremonial cakes, particularly popular for engagement parties we were told. Pretty yummy too!

Hak, our cook was very patient and I liked the idea of cooking and then immediately eating.

This was my first cooking class ever. But it was sooo much fun, I'm sure this will not remain the last one...

And... I must say the Fish Amok I made was the best I had up until now. I know, I sound pretty full of myself, but it's true. So, anyone up for Fish Amok? I'm going to buy the ingredients tomorrow!


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