Cambodian Fish Amok

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I’ve just come returned from a holiday in Cambodia. The food was sensational! Essentially a blend of the South East Asia region, Cambodian food is typically less spicy than Thai, Malaysian or Indonesian. It uses all the usual suspects to create uniquely mellow, character – just like the Cambodian People themselves. This dish is a national treasure, and it’s easy to see why. The authentic way to cook this is to steam it in a small bowl made from a banana leaf. But obviously unless you’re truly pretentious then I have a devised a cunning alternative.

RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS:

400 g firm white fish (ling, monkfish, even salmon works but is less traditional) Cut into bite size chunks
1/2 cup coconut cream
2 cups coconut milk
1 egg (beaten)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 tablespoon kaffir lime leaves (sliced thinly)
2-3 long red chilli peppers (seeded & thinly sliced)
300 g kale or collard greens or cabbage leaves (combined with 1 tablespoon lemongrass)

The Amok Paste:
2 dried red chilies (soaked and drained)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 tablespoon fresh galangal (chopped) (use fresh ginger as an alternative)
1 tbsp lemon grass stalk
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon shrimp paste

DIRECTIONS:
To make the paste, blend all the paste ingredients smoothly in a food processor or with a hand blender. Combine the paste with 1 cup of coconut milk. When dissolved, stir in the remaining coconut milk, egg, fish sauce and fish.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Take off any stems from the kale and cut into large pieces and make a thin layer in the bottom of 4 ramekins. Spoon in the fish mixture and cover with another leaf. Cover each ramekin tightly in foil and place on a roasting tin. Pour in 1 inch of boiling water to the tin and carefully place in the oven. Steam for 20-25 minutes until the fish is cooked and quite solid.

SERVING:
Boiled rice.

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