• Jan Ghisoni

What makes Cambodian fish amok so unique

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

Fish amok is the signature dish of Cambodia and as a result is one of those must try dishes. Locals say that fish amok has been around for a very long time and they tell of their mothers and grandmothers cooking that dish. Cambodian people are very fortunate to have access to freshwater fish from the local rivers. People who live close to these areas are able to enjoy fish amok literally every day if they so wish. By using the freshest fish you will be guaranteed of the best result as the fish will have the perfect texture and will not be dry.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay cooked a traditional fish amok whilst in the kitchen of one of their restaurants in Siem Reap. He was blown away by the flavours which would have come from the kroeung paste which is the base of the curry sauce. It is important that this dish is well balanced with red chillies, turmeric, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. The dominant flavour should come from the lemongrass whilst the turmeric and coconut cream are secondary but are still as important for the overall balance of the dish.

It is very important to allow the fish to marinate in the kroeung paste and coconut cream so that the flavours are well infused. “Amok” is the process by which the fish is steamed in a banana leaf. Gordon Ramsay described the finished result as looking like a souffle. For authenticity grated fresh coconut is added for a touch of sweetness.

The best way to enjoy this incredible tasting dish is with a spoon and chopsticks. That way you can use the chopsticks to pick up pieces of saucy fish to combine with your rice. You will probably taste different versions of fish amok but the sheer creaminess and flavour hit will make your taste buds come back for more.