Cambodian fish amok is the national dish of Cambodia and with very good reason. Deliciously creamy and mild when compared to neighboring Thailand’s curries.
Concerned about sourcing ingredients for such an exotic cuisine?
You shouldn’t be. If you enjoy Thai or Vietnamese food, then you will surely enjoy Cambodian food.
Cambodia is squeezed in between Thailand and Vietnam so there is a large influence on Cambodian cuisine from both those countries. Throw in China, India and France, who colonized the country and you have a real pot-pouri of styles, ingredients and influences. So, when it comes to food in Cambodia, it is quite eclectic.
Read on for some more insights about fabulous Cambodian cuisine and ingredients. And further on is the recipe for Cambodian fish amok.
If You Love Thai or Vietnamese Food You Will Also Love Cambodian Food
Don’t be put off cooking Cambodian food because you are concerned about sourcing ingredients or because it is a cuisine you don’t hear much about. It is true that there is not much known about Cambodian cuisine but there are reasons for that. Here are two of them:
- Cambodia does not attract the hordes of tourists that flock to Thailand and to a lesser extent Vietnam. Unfortunately, it has not been that long since the country escaped the clutches of the Pol Pot regime and it is still recovering from those horrific days. But the people are wonderful, generous in spirit and very welcoming to guests in their country. Because of the lack of tourists to the country, the word just does not seep out about the wonderful cuisine to the same extent as its neighbors.
- Another unfortunate fact of life in Cambodia, is it is almost impossible for a common Cambodian to attain a passport. The cost is prohibitive and it basically disqualifies 99% of Cambodians the opportunity to travel outside their borders. Great cooks don’t have the opportunity to export their wonderful cuisine to the rest of the world. So, you have to visit to try it!
Cambodian Ingredients for a Fish Amok Recipe
As for ingredients, do you like Thai food? If so, the ingredients are very similar – if you cook Thai you can cook Cambodian cuisine.
Ingredients like lemongrass, garlic, turmeric, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaf, fish sauce, palm sugar and shrimp paste are all very common and they are available now in most supermarkets. But you will also see a greater use of eggs and European vegetables than in Thailand thanks to the French influence.
If you have the opportunity, take a cooking class in Cambodia. They are available in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh. Fish Amok will likely be on of the dishes you learn to cook in the class. But in the meantime, you can use this Cambodian Fish Amok recipe to try it at home.
A Cambodian Fish Amok Recipe Showcases the Great Flavors of South East Asia
As you would expect with such a large coastline, seafood is very popular and Cambodian fish amok is the most popular of all seafood dishes. Fishing is common on the coastlines, and on Tonle Sap Lake and River. You can read more about Tonle Sap and the village along the lake in Angkor Wat, Part 2.
We had the great pleasure of enjoying a sunset cruise in Kampot, a highlight of our trip. Watching the fishermen prepare their boats for their night’s work was fascinating. After our relaxing river cruise, we enjoyed Cambodian fish amok for dinner. What a superb meal! So, that meal was the inspiration for presenting this Cambodian amok recipe to you.
Serve Cambodian Fish Amok in the traditional way with steamed rice.
And if you ever have the chance of going to Cambodia, jump on it. It is cheaper than Thailand and Vietnam. And there is way less commercialization. Go before that happens. The people there would truly appreciate it and you will be blown away by the people, the sights like Angkor Wat and the cuisine of course.
Some More Dishes to Add a Little Spice to Your Life
Do you enjoy warming dishes, like this one? If so, you might like these recipes: