Cambodia Fish Amok

Yield: 4 servings

It was difficult for me to authentically replicate this dish after my travels. Traditional fish amok is usually steamed and then served in banana leaves, a rare ingredient in my small town. Nonetheless, here is my version of one of Cambodia’s classic dishes. I serve it over a bed of jasmine rice and top each serving with a mixture of chopped basil, mint, and cilantro leaves.

  • Khmer Curry Paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 lemon grass stalks, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 kaffir limes leaves or 1 tsp. grated lime zest
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 small red chili pepper, seeded and chopped finely
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh turmeric root (or 1 tsp. ground turmeric)
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated galangal or 1-inch piece of fresh ginger


  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or gee
  • 2 cups firm white fish, skinned, boned, and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. palm sugar


To make the curry paste, place the ingredients in a medium-size mortar and pound them with a pestle. Alternatively, mix them in a small food processor until very smooth. Unused curry paste can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a month.

To make the fish, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the curry paste, and sir for about 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar and cook gently, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes. Avoid letting the liquid come to a boil. Gently place the fish slices into the liquid. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Cover the pan and poach the fish until just cooked through (about 5 minutes).