Royal seafood amok

Royal seafood amok

Luke Nguyen's Greater Mekong
Stuart Scott

Amok is Cambodia’s national dish, served at most local restaurants in the country. Every cook has his or her own version, but this recipe was designed for the royal family. Traditionally, amok are steamed in banana leaf parcels, but you can also steam them in coconut shells, rice bowls or souffé moulds. Noni is a tropical evergreen tree that grows about four metres tall. The fruit has medicinal qualities; the large green leaves have a nice lemon scent when cooked, but can be quite bitter raw. If you can’t find noni leaves, use spinach leaves here.


Quantity Ingredient
375ml coconut cream
2 eggs, beaten
100g snapper or other firm white fish fillet, cut into 1 cm x 2 cm pieces
8 raw small prawns, peeled and deveined
2 baby squid, cleaned and skinned, tentacles discarded, and the tubes finely sliced into rings
50g noni leaves or english spinach leaves, torn
steamed jasmine rice, to serve

Amok paste

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons cambodian chilli paste, (see note)
2 tablespoons kroeung paste, (see note)
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon liquid palm sugar or shaved palm sugar

To garnish

Quantity Ingredient
2-3 tablespoons coconut cream
2 kaffir lime leaves, very finely sliced


  1. Bring water to a rapid boil in a steamer, wok or large saucepan that will hold a steamer basket.
  2. Meanwhile, combine all the amok paste ingredients in a mixing bowl with a pinch of sea salt and mix well. Now stir in the coconut cream and eggs until well combined. Fold all the seafood through.
  3. Line two or three small coconut shells or 300 ml heatproof moulds with the noni or spinach leaves. Using a slotted spoon, and reserving the spicy liquid, scoop the seafood into the moulds, over the leaves. Don’t fold the leaves over the seafood.
  4. Transfer the moulds to a steamer basket or bamboo steamer and set over the pan of boiling water. Pour theˆ spicy seafood liquid into the moulds, reserving about 4 ˆtablespoons.
  5. Steam over high heat for 15 minutes. After this time, the mixture will have risen a little in the moulds, so use a fork to pierce a hole in each amok to de‰flate it slightly. Drizzle the reserved spicy seafood liquid over each amok and steam for a further 30 minutes, or until the mixture is set and has a light, souffé-type texture.
  6. To finish, drizzle a tablespoon of coconut cream over each amok and garnish with the kaffir lime leaves. Serve in the moulds, with bowls of steamed jasmine rice.


  • To make Cambodian chilli paste, soak 200 g seeded large dried chillies in 500 ml warm water for 10 minutes. Drain, then squeeze out the excess water. Pound the chillies to a paste using a mortar and pestle. Add to a hot wok with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and fry over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Allow to cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


  • Kroeung paste is an essential base for many Cambodian dishes. Use a large mortar and pestle or a food processor to pound or process the following to a smooth paste: 3 tablespoons peeled, sliced fresh galangal; 3 tablespoons peeled, sliced fresh turmeric; 6 sliced garlic cloves; 2„ finely sliced lemongrass stems, white part only; 2 sliced red Asian shallots; 10 „finely shredded kaffir lime leaves; 6 sliced bird’s eye chillies; 2 sliced long red chillies; 1 teaspoon black peppercorns; 1 teaspoon sea salt; 1 teaspoon shrimp paste and 60 ml vegetable oil. You can refrigerate the spice paste in a clean screw-top jar for up to 2 weeks.
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