Amok is a Cambodian dish made with fish that is traditionally steamed in banana leaves. You can use foil to make a papillote instead though, or I used a foil steamer bag that I had in the cupboard. It's a delicately-flavoured, light dish that was a total leap of faith because the flavours sound like they really shouldn't go together - who puts curry powder, sugar, fish sauce, coconut milk and raw eggs in the same dish ?! It came out lovely though.
800g firm white fish (such as cod)
8 Chinese cabbage leaves
1/2 red pepper
1 clove garlic
2 shallots or an onion
1tbsp sunflower oil
1/2tsp chilli powder
a pinch of salt
20cl coconut milk
3tsp mild curry powder
3tsp fish sauce (nuoc mam)
3-4tbsp of kroeung (see here)
Finely chop the shallots/onion and garlic and gently fry it in the sunflower oil in a small saucepan until soft and translucent but not browned. Turn off the heat and stir in the chilli powder and salt. Reserve.
Create the marinade by mixing together the curry powder, fish sauce, sugar, 2 eggs and the coconut milk.
Add the remaining kroeung that I told you about in the last Cambodian recipe and also the onions/garlic/chilli from the saucepan.
Chop the fish into large pieces and put in the bowl with the marinade. Stir to cover the fish and leave to soak up the flavours for half an hour.
Chop the Chinese cabbage leaves into thick strips and slice the red pepper.
Prepare your papillotes, using sheets of foil (or banana leaves if you want to be authentic !) or a ready-made foil bag.
Put the Chinese cabbage and red pepper in first.
Then top with the fish and spoon in the remaining marinade. Fold over the ends of the bag to seal it and put in a preheated oven at 180° for 30 minutes.
Serve the fish and vegetables on a bed of rice and spoon over some of the sauce.
It's a surprising blend of flavours but they all combine really nicely. The fish was melt-in-the-mouth tender and the cabbage soaked up all the coconut milk and curry flavours without going soggy. A surprising success !
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