Luke Nguyen shares his recipe for traditional Cambodian seafood curry. It is deliciously spicy, with the sweetness of coconut cream, and the end result is soufflé-like. It is usually steamed in banana leaves, but here Luke makes great use of coconut shells.
- 375 ml coconut cream
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 100 g snapper or other firm white fish fillet, cut into 1 cm x 2 cm pieces
- 8 small raw prawns, about 150 g, peeled, deveined
- 2 baby squid, about 125 g, cleaned, sliced, tentacles discarded, hoods thinly sliced into rings
- 50 g noni leaves or English spinach leaves, torn
- steamed jasmine rice, to serve
- 2 tbsp Cambodian chilli paste
- 2 tbsp kroeung paste
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp liquid palm sugar or shaved palm sugar (jaggery)
- 2 tbsp coconut cream
- 2 makrut (kaffir lime) leaves, very finely sliced
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Bring water to a rapid boil in a steamer, wok or large saucepan that will hold a steamer basket.
Meanwhile, combine all the amok paste ingredients in a mixing bowl with a pinch of sea salt and mix well.
Stir in the coconut cream and eggs until well combined. Fold all the seafood through.
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 seafood liquid, scoop the seafood into the moulds, over the leaves. Don’t fold the leaves over the seafood.
Transfer the moulds to a steamer basket or bamboo steamer and set over the pan of boiling water. Pour the spicy seafood liquid into the moulds, reserving about 4 tablespoons. Steam over a 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 deflate 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, soufflé-type texture.
To finish, drizzle a tablespoon of coconut cream over each amok and garnish with the lime leaves. Serve in the moulds, with bowls of steamed jasmine rice.