- Food -
Fish are the main staple of the typical
Cambodian diet though many dishes are
prepared with beef, pork or chicken. Sea
food is abundant in coastal areas with
shrimps and crab among the favourites. Local
specialties include Amok (fish-cooked in
coconut milk) and a variety of soups, and
curries similar in taste though not in
spiciness to Thailand. Phnom Penh is truly
cosmopolitan with Chinese, Japanese, Korean,
Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Nepalese,
Indian, Turkish, Mexican, French, Western
and other restaurants dotted around the
Cambodian food is a must when you're in
Cambodia! Luckily there are many restaurants
in Siem Reap so you will have plenty of
opportunities to do so.
For a first time encounter with Cambodian
food, you might want to start with the
national dish: amok.
It is a curry of sorts, but with a much
milder taste than Indian curry. Because it's
also coconut based, amok is probably more
comparable to Thai curries, although more
Does that mean it's not good? Not so!
Although the flavour does not scream for
attention, it has that subtle taste that is
comforting and relaxing. There are no
surprises with amok, just a simple and good
hearty dish. Wow, I feel like a food
critique, but never mind that. In short, I
think amok is a dish that is worth trying
while you're in Cambodia.
You can usually choose either fish or
chicken, but amok also comes in beef,
shrimp, or pork. If you want to try
something different, try the amok 'degustation,'
which is an amok dish made from a
combination of these meats.
Coconut Fish Curry Parcels Amok Trei
- 1 Garlic Clove, chopped
- 1 Red Onion, chopped
- 5cm/2-inches fresh Root Galangal,
chopped or 1/2 teasp Ground Galangal
- 2 tbsp chopped Lemon Grass or 2 teasp
Ground Lemon Grass
- ˝ teasp Ground Turmeric
- 1 teasp Paprika
- 2 tbsp Fish Sauce
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- ˝ teasp salt
- 1 x 400g/14oz tin Coconut Milk
- 450g/1lb White Fish Fillets, e.g.
(Catfish, Sole, Orange Roughy)
- 4-8 Banana leaves (depending on size)
or or 8 large Dark Green Cabbage Leaves
1. Place the garlic, onion, galangal, lemon
grass, turmeric, paprika, fish sauce and sugar in a blender or food
processor and process until well blended.
2. Add the coconut milk and process again until thoroughly mixed.
3. Transfer the coconut mixture to a medium saucepan and bring to simmering
point, stirring. Continue to cook gently for about 10 minutes until
4. Meanwhile, if using cabbage greens, place them in a large saucepan, cover
with boiling water and set aside to soften. If using banana leaves, cut into
pieces about 20cm/8-inches square.
5. Place the fish in a bowl, season with a little salt then pour over half
the hot coconut sauce and mix well. Set the remaining sauce aside.
6. Place 1/8th of the fish mixture in the centre of each leaf and fold the
edges over to form secure parcels, making sure you tuck the edges under.
7. Steam the parcels for 1 hour.
8. 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time, gently reheat the remaining
9. To serve - make a small opening down the centre of each parcel and spoon
the remaining coconut sauce into the opening. Serve immediately with rice.
to the Kingdom of
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