Category Archives: Fish

All bony fish, including tuna

Fish Amok

A couple of years ago we visited Cambodia. We bought a motorbike and explored Cambodia before crossing the border to Vietnam. In Cambodia I did my first cooking class. In fact, I did two on the same day. Dwayne and I both did the Cambodian cooking classes and really enjoyed them. One dish we made at both classes was the fish amok.

At each class they were made slightly different and I have used ideas from both and come up with my own take on Cambodian Fish Amok. I don’t like to blow my own trumpet but Dwayne said it was his favourite! LOL he says that all the time…. but what surprised me is that he barely remembers the fish amok we had in Cambodia and so he therefore believes mine to be so much better than what we had there. Needless to say I think it turned out pretty good otherwise I would not be passing on my creation to you guys… I would hide it away with all my other failures!

In the class we made baskets, with a banana leaf, to steam the fish in. I didn’t get a chance to buy any banana leaves so I used a couple of ramekins I have on board instead. I also had to use a make-shift steamer because I don’t currently have one. I managed with what I had on board and our lunch, which we ate while anchored off Koh Kradan in Thailand was delicious.

mortar

Cambodian Fish Amok

Ingredients (for two)
300g fish
2 stalks of lemongrass, white part only, hard outer lay removed
3 large cloves of garlic

2 small Asian shallots or half a small-medium red onion
5cm x 1cm length of tumeric
3cm x 2cm piece of galangal
2cm x 2cm piece of ginger
1 large double kaffir lime leaf
2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/2 tsp shrimp paste
200ml coconut cream (reserve 4 tbs)
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder
pinch of salt
about 50 g of thinly sliced kale (or noni (amok) leaf if you have it)
1/2 tsp of corn flour (or use rice flour like I did if you don’t have it)

Fish Amok

Method
Slice fish and set aside in refrigerator until needed.

Thinly slice the kaffir lime leaf add to a mortar and with the pestle grind it until it is well crushed.

Then add to the mortar thinly sliced lemongrass, crushed garlic, finely diced shallots, thinly sliced ginger and galangal. And continue to crush and grind making it into a paste.

Add the chilli flakes and shrimp paste and continue to crush and grind until you have a fine paste.

Mix the paste with the fish, coconut cream, sugar, salt, chicken stock and thinly sliced kale.

Let the mix marinate for 20 minutes and then put it into ramekins or banana leaf baskets.

Steam for 25 min and then remove from steamer.

Gently heat the reserved coconut cream with the corn flour until it thickens a little. Pour a little of the coconut cream on to the fish amok and garnish with thinly sliced red chilli and thinly sliced kaffir leaf.

Serve with rice.

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Cambodian_Fish_Amok

 

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Nasi Lemak

Nasi lemak is a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf commonly found in Malaysia, where it is considered the national dish. This traditional Malaysian favourite offers sambal, ikan bilis (anchovies), peanuts and boiled egg. Nasi Lemak stalls can be found serving them with fried egg, chicken/beef rendang, sambal kerang (cockles) – a local favourite, sambal squid, sambal fish, squid fritters or even fried chicken or fish. It can be consumed for breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner and even supper. [Wikipedia]

My nasi leak with sambal, ikan bills and a Chinese tea egg.
My nasi leak with sambal, ikan bills and a Chinese tea egg.

To make this traditional Malaysian nasi lemak this is what I did…..

For the steamed coconut rice

Ingredients
1 cup of rice
1 cup of coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 inch of ginger, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped

Note: nasi lemak coconut rice is usually cooked with pandan leaves or screwpine leaves tied in knots. I didn’t have any so did not use them. If you do have them use two in the above recipe.

Instructions
Rinse the rice twice and drain. Put in a saucepan with the coconut milk, water, ginger, garlic and onion (and pandanus leaves), cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Remove from the heat and leave covered until serving.

For the sambal ikan bilis (Anchovy Sambal)

Ingredients
1/2 red onion
1/2 cup ikan bilis (dried anchovies)
1 clove garlic
4 shallots
10 dried chillies (deseeded)
1 teaspoon of belacan (prawn paste)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar

Instructions
Rinse the dried anchovies and drain the water. Fry the anchovies until they turn light brown and put aside. Pound the prawn paste together with shallots, garlic, and dried chilies with a mortar and pestle. You can also grind them with a food processor.
Slice the red onion into rings.
Soak the tamarind pulp in water for 15 minutes. Squeeze the tamarind constantly to extract the flavor into the water. Drain the pulp and save the tamarind juice.
Heat some oil in a pan and fry the spice paste until fragrant.
Add in the onion rings.
Add in the ikan bilis and stir well.
Add tamarind juice, salt, and sugar to taste.
Simmer on low heat until the gravy thickens. Set aside.

Note: Original recipe uses 1 cup ikan bilis. I only used 1/2 cup of ikan bilis because I like to serve it with lots of crispy fried ikan bilis on the side.

Sambal recipe from – http://rasamalaysia.com/nasi-lemak-recipe/2

with egg, dried fish, coconut rice, cucumber and tomato and the nasi lemak sauce

To serve

slices of cucumber
roasted peanuts
deep fried crispy ikan bilis
grape tomatoes halved
hard boiled egg, halved

Note: I used a Chinese tea egg that I had made earlier hence the dark colour of egg in the photo. Click here for the Chinese tea egg recipe.

Note:  l found the Belacan easily in Malaysia. I’m not sure how one would go in Australia or other western country. Try the Asian grocers. I think other shrimp paste would work fine in the recipe.

Cap Kancil
Belacan fish paste

Dwayne’s Chilli Seafood

While cruising Indonesia we were lucky enough to visit a tiny fishing village on the island of Panebangan. The people were exceptionally friendly and welcomed us with huge smiles and a large bunch of bananas! It was at this village, the following morning, that we were invited onto a fishing boat for breakfast. Dwayne watched how the fisherman made chilli fish and it has since become Dwayne’s signature dish! This is great for when I don’t feel like cooking…. i.e. “I’d really love your chilli fish for dinner tonight Dwayne!”

Dwayne has made this a couple of times for dinner. Once he used fish and squid and the other time he used crayfish.

It’s simple and tasty. This is how he does it…

  • fresh chillies, chopped
  • fresh garlic, chopped
  • asian shallots, chopped
  • salt

Dwayne preparing his chilli fish

Blend all the above ingredients with the mortar and pestle.

Blending up the chilli and other ingredients

Add oil to a pan and heat.
Add the spice mix, fry until fragrant.
Add the seafood (fish or what ever you want) and fry it for a while.
Then add some water and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasional.
Season with salt as needed.

Serve with steamed rice.

Fish and squid with chilli sauce

Crayfish and roe in Dwayne's chilli sauce

For the full story of Panebangan check out Karamata and Surrounding Islands

Dwayne with his chilli crayfish

Guess what we are having for dinner tonight!

Mackerel Cutlets with Tomato, Olive and Caper Salsa

Mackerel Cutlets with Tomato, Olive and Caper Salsa

This meal was made with a fresh catch while we were anchored at Hope Island, on the Great Barrier Reef. It was  a few days out of Cairns  and we still had some fresh vegetables from our shopping trip that we needed to use. The green beans were on their last days so, as it often happens on a boat, what we decided to cook for dinner was determined by the veg we had and what needed to be eaten first.

Dwayne caught, cleaned and cut the spanish mackerel into cutlets. He then  barbequed the cutlets while I made a salsa.

Mackerel Cutlets with Tomato, Olive and Caper Salsa made with this fish caught in QLD

For the salsa I diced tomato, kalamata olives, red onion, anchovy, chilli, capers and added a little olive oil.

Mackerel Cutlets with Tomato, Olive and Caper Salsa

The beans, which were begging to be cooked, were blanched in boiling water for a minute or two and set aside. I sautéed a little garlic in butter and tossed the beans and some chopped pistachio nuts through it.

Mackerel Cutlets with Tomato, Olive and Caper Salsa

We enjoyed a delicious meal of BBQ mackerel topped with the salsa and served with the beans on the side. We love mackerel… don’t think we’ll ever get sick of it!

 

Cajun Mackerel with Pineapple, Tomato and Corn Salad

We caught a couple of mackerel just out from Undine Cay. The first, which I used for this recipe, was a spotted mackerel which Dwayne filleted. We arrived at Hope Island in time for lunch so I cooked up a couple of fillets and served the with a salsa style salad. This was simple and very delicious.

We made Cajun Mackerel with Pineapple, Tomato and Corn Salad with the spotted mackerel

To make the salad I mixed diced pineapple, tomato, red onion, red chilli with corn kernels and the juice of one lime.

The makings for a corn salsa

Cajun Mackerel with Pineapple, Tomato and Corn Salad

I coated the mackerel fillets with Cajun spices and fried them in canola oil.

Frying up the Cajun Mackerel

 The Cajun spice and the fruity flavour of the salad were amazing together. Yummo!

Cajun Mackerel with Pineapple, Tomato and Corn Salad

Cajun Mackerel with Pineapple, Tomato and Corn Salad

Yellow Curried Mackerel Cutlet

This is what we made with this fish Yellow Curried Mackerel Cutlet

I served this the night Sarah and Joanna came to visit us in Airlie beach .

I made a yellow curry sauce with Mae Ploy’s yellow curry paste, finely chopped ginger and garlic, finely sliced kaffir lime leaves, a little fish stock and coconut milk. I simmered the sauce for 20mins, adding water when necessary, until the flavours had developed at which time I added the mackerel cutlets.

I serve the curry with basmati rice, blanched snow peas and a little tomato.

Yellow Curried Mackerel Cutlet

Thai Style Fish Cakes and Battered Fish Bits

At an anchorage called “Hole in the Wall” at Jervis Bay, we could catch nothing but these voracious little leatherjackets which kept devouring our bait, hooks, sinkers and squid jags. In the end we decided to eat them!

Razor sharp teeth of the leatherjackets!
Razor sharp teeth of the leatherjackets!

Firstly for lunch I made Thai Style Fish Cakes by blending up the fish with garlic, onion, red curry paste, left-over tin corn and a little corn flour. The result was yummy and I served them with soy and sweet chilli sauce.

Thai Style Fish Cakes
For dinner I made a batter and deep-fried the small fish fillets.

Battered Leatherjacket