If you have never been to Cambodia, then after this read I hope it will convince you to make a trip out there soon, obviously for the magnificent view of Angkor Wat and other temples, but if you are a bit of a foodie like us, you certainly do not want to miss the infamous Khmer dish, Amok Fish.
Amok Fish is a coconut-based fish curry, slow-cooked in banana leave or coconut. I mean, even Gordon Ramsay did an episode on that.
I can assure you that once you have tried it, you will be asking for more. I have re-created this into a dip, so that you can take it with you to the park for a picnic. And by the way - you could easily make a large batch of curry paste, refrigerate/freeze part of it, and use it for your curry dinners too! It will keep in the fridge/ freezer for upto 5 days/ a month.
Right enough talking, good, you are still reading, here is the recipe:
Khmer Amok Aubergine Dip
Ingredients: 2 tbsp Vegetable oil 6 Lemongrass stalk, finely chopped 3 Shallot bulbs, finely chopped 5 Garlic clove, crushed 2 Red chilli (I love mine hot, but de-seed them if you prefer), finely chopped 1 inch Galangal (Ginger works too), finely chopped 4-5 Lime leaves 2 tsp Tumeric 1 tbsp Brown sugar 2 Tbsp Shrimp paste (use Chilli paste for a vegetarian version) 2 tsp Salt 400 ml Coconut milk 2-3 tbsp Vegetable oil 4 large Aubergine, cubed
Directions: 1. In a medium-sized pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add lemongrass, shallot, garlic, red chilli, galangal and turmeric. Let it cook for a couple of minutes.
2. Stir in coconut milk, and add lime leaves, brown sugar. Allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes, so that the flavours of the spices come out.
3. In the meantime, in a pan, lightly fry the aubergine so that the are coated in oil.
4. Add aubergine into the curry sauce, allow it to simmer for another 10-15 minutes, so that water evaporates and the sauce thickens. Add salt to taste.
5. If you like it chunky, then let it cool and your dip is ready! However if you prefer a dip with consistent texture, then let the curry cool down, and then use a food processor to blend it. Eat it with pitta bread or tortilla chips.
Note : - If your intention is to make a curry paste, then you should skip step 3 to 5. - Chicken, fish and tofu all work very well with this curry dish! Serve it with jasmine rice, yum! - After several trials, I find this recipe resembles the most the amok I have tasted in Cambodia. However I personally prefer a slightly less coconut-y version, so use more or less depending on your prefrence!