Recipes from Cambodia

Amok Trei/Coconut Fish and Curry Parcels

This dish serves four people.


1 garlic clove, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
5cm/2-inches fresh root galangal, chopped or ½ teasp ground galangal
2 tbsp chopped lemon grass or 2 teasp ground lemon grass
½ teasp ground turmeric
1 teasp paprika 1 tbsp sugar
½ teasp salt
1 x 400g/14oz tin coconut milk
450g/1lb white fish fillets, e.g. (catfish, sole, orange roughy)
4-8 banana leaves (depending on size) or or 8 large dark green cabbage leaves


1. Place the garlic, onion, galangal, lemon grass, turmeric, paprika, fish sauce and sugar in a blender or food processor and process until well blended.
2. Add the coconut milk and process again until thoroughly mixed.
3. Transfer the coconut mixture to a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmering point, stirring. Continue to cook gently for about ten minutes until thickened.
4. Meanwhile, if using cabbage greens, place them in a large saucepan, cover with boiling water and set aside to soften. If using banana leaves, cut into pieces about 20cm/8-inches square.
5. Place the fish in a bowl, season with a little salt then pour over half the hot coconut sauce and mix well. Set the remaining sauce aside.
6. Place 1/8th of the fish mixture in the centre of each leaf and fold the edges over to form secure parcels, making sure you tuck the edges under. Steam the parcels for 1 hour.
7. 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time, gently reheat the remaining sauce.
8. To serve - make a small opening down the centre of each parcel and spoon the remaining coconut sauce into the opening. Serve immediately with rice.

Swai nhoam di hu/Squid and Mango Salad

Serves 4.


1 large fresh green mango, peeled and cut into julienne strips
450g/1lb fresh baby squid (calamari)
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp hot water
1 teasp sugar
½ a chili pepper, finely chopped
¼ teasp salt
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 red capsicum (sweet pepper), sliced
1 tbsp freshly chopped mint
50g/2oz dry roasted peanuts, chopped


1. Prepare the squid by gripping the body with one hand and the head and tentacles with the other. Pull apart firmly. Cut the tentacles away from the head, wash and finely chop 4 of them, reserving the remainder for another recipe. Discard the head, entrails and ink sac. Wash the bodies thoroughly, both inside and out, in cold running water, dry on kitchen paper then cut into bite size pieces.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the lime juice water, sugar, fish sauce and chili pepper. Set aside.
3. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the squid, bring back to the boil and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook.
4. Drain the squid in a colander then place in a serving bowl together with the mango, capsicum and onion.
5. Add the prepared lime juice mixture together with the mint and peanuts and mix well.
Serve immediately as a starter or salad to accompany main dishes.