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14 April 2016

recipe | cambodian fish amok

ok well, for a start, this isn't really a recipe post because i have nothing other than this one picture to share with you because i didn't think i'd be writing about. i should plan ahead, i know, but i didn't. what's happened is that i made this delicious meal during the week and then shared this picture on instagram and snapchat and everyone went nuts asking for the recipe. rather than just telling everyone which recipe i used, i thought i'd whack it up here and that brings us to the present.

my flatmate suggested we have a cooking and wine night, and i was all for it. she then told me about this fish amok she had in cambodia, and i was all for that too. she then found this recipe, which called for loads of really niche and specialist ingredients, which i too was all for. until i found myself traipsing around china town after work on tuesday. that is something i am never for. never, ever, ever.

but alas, when i got home, there was wine waiting so everything was ok again. and then an hour later i was eating this absolutely delicious fish curry, and i couln't have been happier. here's what you need to feel similar happiness:

for the curry paste:
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped (or 1tsp 'very lazy' garlic)
3 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and chopped (or 6tsp 'very lazy' lemongrass
1/2 inch piece galangal peeled and chopped (or: ginger)
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped (ours went in whole)
1tsp tumeric powder
1tsp light brown sugar, packed (we used demarera)
1tsp salt
1tsp chilli paste (aka sambal oelek in the chinese shops)

for the fish amok:
1tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp shrimp paste
1 cup coconut milk, well shaken (get the good brand, trust me)
1tbsp white sugar
1tsp salt
400g white fish (we used cod)
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
tbsp fish sauce
1 egg
julienned red pepper (for garnish)
kaffir lime leaf (for garnish)

lots, right? anyway, a lot of that you'll have in the cupboard... if you're me. if you're not me, write a list and go to the chinese bit of your supermarket or your local chinese grocer - you'll find it all there. the actual method for making it all is so super easy too, and the whole thing is made in under twenty mins. here's how:

for the curry paste:
using a mortar and pestle or food processor, place the first five ingredients together and pound or blend until a smooth paste. then add the remaining ingredients and repeat. that's literally it; you're done.

for the fish amok:
thinly slice the fish into 1/2 inch chunks and set aside. heat the oil in a big wok or deep pan over a medium-high heat. add the curry paste and cook for one minute. add the shrimp paste, coconut milk, sugar and salt, whisking to combine. turn the heat to medium and simmer for two minutes, whisking occasionally. add the fish and spinache, gently folding into the curry sauce. let this all simmer for a fwe minutes or until the fish is cooked, then turn the heat off.

in a small bowl whisk the egg with the fish sauce and two tbsp of the curry sauce from the pan. pour this in the wok or pan, and gently fold into the curry to bind it all together. serve the amok in a bowl with a spoonful of coconut cream (the thick stuff that rises to the top), a few slivers of red pepper and sprinkling of kaffir lime leaves (which - as you can see, we didn't do). we had ours with some rice on the side, literally uncle ben's two minute jobby in the microwave, but it did the trick.

utter bloody delicious. let me know if you have a go yourself!

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