On my recent trip to Cambodia, the one thing that really made my trip memorable, apart from the awesome Spa and the wonderful hospitality of the local people, was this Cambodian speciality called the Fish Amok. Simple delicate flavors of Coconut, Lemon Grass, Lime leaves, and Galangal to name a few, made into a paste and marinated with the fish and then carefully wrapped in Banana leaves takes this dish to a different level altogether. What I like best about this dish is that it is completely oil free and yet so yummy to taste. I did not have banana leaves at hand today and so had to manage with small portion-sized oven-safe bakeware to make this. While I had got the readymade spice mix for this preparation from the resort, the same is equally easy to make at home. The resort's Head Chef was kind enough to share the recipe with me. If you are not sure whether you will be getting a chance to visit Cambodia, I highly recommend to make this dish and enjoy their local cuisine from the comforts of your home!
400 gms boneless fish
5 kaffir lime leaves (I love the flavor and so added extra although it is already present in the spice paste)
1/2 cup coconut freshly grated
1/2 cup coconut milk plus a little extra while serving
4-5 whole red chillies
1 tbsp oyster sauce or fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
4 tsp Amok Spice paste
2 lemongrass stems (inner core only) grated
4 lime leaves finely shredded
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp grated galangal (Thai ginger root)
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 medium onion chopped
2-3 whole dry red chillies
Clean and wash the fish fillet and cut into small 1/2" chunks. Keep it in a bowl.
Now add all the ingredients listed under the spice paste and make a smooth paste, adding little water as required. Do not add a lot of water but just enough to make a fine but not watery paste. Keep aside.
Now make a paste with the grated coconut, whole red chillies, and lime leaves adding just a dash of water as required.
Mix the fish with the coconut paste, 4 tsp spice paste (you may finish it off if only a little is left behind or store in a air-tight jar in the refrigetator for later use), salt, sugar, coconut milk, oyster sauce, and coat all the fish chunks evenly.
Pre-heat the oven at 200 degree celsius. Take portion-sized ovensafe bakeware or any bakeware of your choice and transfer the fish mixture to the dish.
Please note that this dish is best baked in banana leaves. However, I did not have any at hand and so prepared it this way.