Fish Amok

(4 servings)

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Fish Amok is an classic Cambodian specialty. It is made with Khmer yellow curry paste known as Kroeung Samlor Machou which can also be used to make other Cambodian dishes and soups.

I had a little paste left over from this recipe which I used later to marinate chicken and make chicken skewers! Absolutely delicious. So don’t throw away the paste if you have excess. Some of the ingredients can be difficult to find in America such as fresh turmeric and lime leaves. I went to an H-Mart and got both. If you don’t find fresh turmeric, you can replace with powdered turmeric Turmeric is making a come back as one of those super foods and it is becoming more popular in regular grocery stores. I also like to get creative with variations to my recipes so if you are looking for the absolute exact traditional recipe, then this is not the place to be. However, I can promise you this that the recipe is finger licking good! I added dried limes in this recipe which is a middle eastern ingredient in dishes but adds additional punch to this dish. I also didn’t have fresh banana leaves to steam the fish so I used my tagine in the oven instead.


  • 4 no. Chilean Sea Bass Fillet
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 1 tbs. fish sauce
  • ½ cup lotus seeds boiled
  • 5-6 sliced lotus roots
  • 6-7 lime leaves
  • Fresh red chili sliced for garnishing
  • 2 dried ‘omani’ lime (found in middle-eastern stores)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbs. mustard oil

For the Khmer yellow curry paste or Kroeung Samlor Machou:

  • 4 stalk fresh lemon grass
  • 1 ½ tsp. fresh turmeric
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbs. peanuts
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 inch galangal
  • 1 tsp. shrimp paste
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 dried red chilis (deseeded & soaked in warm water for 20 minutes)


For the Khmer yellow curry paste:

Wash and chop the lemon grass. Use only the white portion. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Traditionally this is done with a mortar pestle, but a food processor also gets the job done.

Now add about 2 tablespoon of the curry paste to a bowl with the beaten egg and mix well. Marinate the fish with this mix and set aside for about 10 minutes.

Heat mustard oil in a frying pan on high heat and fry the fish to get a slight brown char on both sides. (About 1 & 1/2 minute on each side – Don’t worry about cooking the fish completely at this point as we will be cooking the fish further in later steps).

In the same pan add the rest of the yellow curry paste and fry on medium heat. Keep stirring till the paste gets a nice golden yellow color (about 5 minutes).

Preheat oven to 380F.

Traditionally, this dish is made in fresh banana leaf containers and steamed. However, banana leaves were tough to find in Manhattan so I decided to use my tagine. At the bottom of the tagine spread about 4 tablespoon of the paste. Add the dried lime and some of the lime leaves.

Now place the fish fillet and lotus roots and lotus seeds in the tagine and top with another tablespoon of the paste.

Add in coconut milk, fish sauce, salt and about ½ cup water. Close the tagine and place in the oven for about 45 minutes. Top with sliced red chilis and sliced lime leaves and serve!

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