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:
Or a coconut:
Or sometimes, rather boringly on a plate! Boo…
When we were in Siem Reap, I did a cooking class and learned to cook it! Here’s what I made in the class:
And Here’s one I made when I got home:
But first…Siem Reap is a pretty town with sights ranging from the traditional:
To the distinctly more modern:
I couldn’t resist putting in this photo, it looks like Mark’s been photobombed by a pineapple!
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.
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…
And not just any monkeys…baby monkeys!!!! Otherwise known as the cutest things in the world!
I am a five year old.
Seriously though, the temples were pretty amazing…
Angkor Thom was stunning and probably my favourite out of all of them.
And you could rub noses with Buddha…
Told you I was a 5 year old!
Then on to Ta Prohm which is the tree temple. And pretty spectacular in itself:
And then there was the big one, the one they all come to see.
You can get pretty high here..in a completely natural way:
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….
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:
The third thing was a dessert but it wasn’t very nice. Hence no photos.
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?”
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!
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!
I”m off to have mine now!
Have a fabulous week everyone!
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.