Amok is the national dish of Cambodia – it is a yellow curry and can be made with chicken, fish or seafood.  I ate ’em all.  And they were all delicious! It is also served a variety of ways – often it comes wrapped in a banana leaf:

Amok  - Lotus Blanc
Amok – Lotus Blanc

 Or a coconut: 

Chicken Amok Siem Reap
Chicken Amok Siem Reap

Or sometimes, rather boringly on a plate!  Boo…

Chicken Amok 3
Chicken Amok 3

When we were in Siem Reap, I did a cooking class and learned to cook it! Here’s what I made in the class:

My PhotoFy_09_14_21_07

And Here’s one I made when I got home:

Home Made  Seafood Amok
Home Made Seafood Amok

 

But first…Siem Reap is a pretty town with sights ranging from the traditional:

Monks  - Siem Reap
Monks – Siem Reap

 

Market - Siem Reap
Market – Siem Reap

To the distinctly more modern:

Pub Street  - Siem Reap
Pub Street – Siem Reap

I couldn’t resist putting in this photo, it looks like Mark’s been photobombed by a pineapple! 

Siem Reap - Cocktails
Siem Reap – Cocktails

 There is also a bustling market for souvenirs and some lovely gift shops.  But dominating tourism in Siem Reap is it’s proximity to Angkor Wat, which is Unesco Heritage listed and the largest temple complex in the world.  The tourism system is very well organised, you can buy a one, three or seven day temple pass so can spend as  much time as you want exploring the area.

Cambodia Souvenirs
Cambodia Souvenirs

 We did a one day pass which was possibly a mistake.  By the end of the day, we were utterly exhausted!  I felt a bit sorry for our guide actually, he kept valiantly trying to explain the history to us but, by late afternoon, most of our group were beyond listening. And there were monkeys…

Monkeys - Angkor Wat

 And not just any monkeys…baby monkeys!!!!  Otherwise known as the cutest things in the world!

Monkeys - Angkor Wat2
Monkeys – Angkor Wat2

  I am a five year old.

Seriously though, the temples were pretty amazing…

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom was stunning and probably my favourite out of all of them. 

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom2
Angkor Thom2

 And you could rub noses with Buddha…

Rubbing Noses
Rubbing Noses

 Told you I was a 5 year old!

Ta Prohm

Then on to Ta Prohm which is the tree temple.  And pretty spectacular in itself:

Ta Prohm1
Ta Prohm1
Ta Prohm2
Ta Prohm2

  And then there was the big one, the one they all come to see.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat

  You can get pretty high here..in a completely natural way:

Angkor Wat2
Angkor Wat2

 But whoo…those stairs are steep!  I’m really, really scared of heights..the going up was fine.  The coming down on these very steep, but also very narrow steps, when it had just started to rain so everything was a little bit more slippery than it should have been?  Completely terrifying.  One of the most nerve wracking things I have ever done….

Steps Angkor Wat
Steps Angkor Wat

 What was not terrifying but totally amazing was the cooking school at The Temple I attended the next day.  And just whilst we’re on this.  The cooking school at the Temple?  $US10.  Best bang for buck cooking school EVER.  Did I mention before that the default currency in Cambodia is the US dollar?  You only ever get proper Cambodian money as small change. It’s really weird….

Anyway, for your $10 you get to make three things.  You have seen my Amok.  I also chose to make a Green Mango Salad which was super delicious:

Green Mango Salad
Green Mango Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third thing was a dessert but it wasn’t very nice.  Hence no photos. 

Making Amok

There was a funny moment though.  When they laid out the ingredients for the amok, I looked at them and thought.  “Wow, carrots must be expensive here.  But what’s the point of that one teeny, tiny piece.  What the hell good is that going to do?”

Ingredients - Amok
Ingredients – Amok

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That my friends, is not carrot.  It is turmeric.  Which I had only ever seen as a bright yellow powder before, hence my confusion. IT is also what gives the Amok it’s traditional yellow colour.  If you can’t find fresh turmeric, you can use the powdered version.  However I managed to find some in my local asian market so it is available.  It looks a bit like ginger but is bright orange! It is also super good for you!

My PhotoFy_09_14_21_47

 One thing to be aware of with either the powdered or the fresh version…book a manicure for the day after you make your amok.  Otherwise your fingers will look like you smoke a pack a day for the foreseeable future! 

2014-09-14_09-40-19I”m off to have mine now!

Have a fabulous week everyone!

 

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2
 

PS.  They didn’t really give us a recipe for the Amok in the class.  My version below is heavily adapted from the one at taste.com.au.

RFFMT – Seafood Amok

RFFMT – Seafood Amok

Ingredients

  • 2 dried red chillies soaked in boiling water, drained, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh turmeric (can use powdered if not available)
  • 2 tablespoons grated galangal (can use ginger if not available)
  • 2 lemongrass stems (inner core only), grated
  • 2 eschalots, chopped
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
  • 1/4 cup (65g) grated palm sugar
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 400g skinless blue-eye or other firm fleshed white fish, cut into 3-4cm pieces
  • 12 green prawns
  • 2 banana leaves
  • 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced
  • Rice or Naan Bread to serve

Instructions

  • Combine the chilli, garlic, turmeric, galangal, lemongrass, eschalot, lime zest, shrimp paste, palm sugar, half the kaffir lime leaves and 2 teaspoons salt in a mortar and pestle or small food processor and pound or whiz until a fine paste.
  • Transfer paste to a frypan over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant. Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool slightly. Add the seafood and toss to combine.
  • Cut each banana leaf into two 25cm x 15cm rectangles. Carefully wave both sides of each leaf over a medium-high flame, then set aside (the heat from the flame will soften the leaves, making them more pliable). Lay each banana leaf out, divide the seafood among the leaves and fold in the ends, securing with toothpicks to form 4 small trays. Top with remaining marinade and sprinkle with remaining kaffir lime leaves and half the sliced chilli. Place in a steamer over medium-high heat and cook for 15 minutes or until the fish is tender and cooked through.
  • Place the seafood parcels on serving plates. Remove toothpicks and scatter with remaining sliced chilli. Serve with rice (traditional) or naan bread (because it's my favourite).
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2014/09/15/rffmt-running-amok-siem-reap/

 

 

 

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