This is the Van Life Cookbook’s adaptation of a classic Cambodian dish, called Amok. Although it’s commonly made with fish, the richly spiced peanut butter sauce lends itself well to a vegetarian version. Although the ingredients list looks long, many go straight into the curry paste, which can be made in a mini food processor or mortar and pestle.
Read our full review of Van Life Cookbook by Danny Jack and Hailee Kukura by reviewer Ruthy Jenkins.
Amok Peanut Vegetable Curry
For the base
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped
- 2 fresh green or red chillies, seeds left in, finely chopped
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 2 tbsp coconut or olive oil
For the curry
- 3 lemon grass stalks
- 2 carrots, washed and thinly sliced
- 8 makrut lime leaves, or peeled zest of 1 lime
- ½ a cauliflower, leaves removed and set aside, the rest (including the stalk) cut into florets
- 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 400 g (14 oz) cans coconut milk
- 100 g (3½ oz) green beans, chopped, or frozen (thawed) or podded fresh peas
- 2 tbsp fish sauce, or juice of 2 limes and a little salt
- 300 g (10½ oz) rice, any type or 400g (14 oz) dried noodles of your choice (optional)
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
To garnish (optional)
- fresh coriander sprigs, chopped
- sliced fresh red chilli or dried chilli flakes
Start by bashing your base ingredients (garlic, ginger, chillies and shallot) together with a good pinch of salt (see intro). You’ll end up with a thick, chunky paste.
Put a large pot over a medium heat and add the coconut or olive oil with another pinch of salt. Cook your paste along with the whole lemon grass stalks for about 5 minutes.
Add your carrots to the paste with the kaffir lime leaves or zest. Add 100ml/31/2fl oz of water, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you’re cooking rice or noodles, now is a good time. Cook them according to the packet instructions, then drain and set aside, covered.
Add your cauliflower florets and stalk to the pot and cook over a low heat for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in your peanut butter and turmeric.
Next, pour in the coconut milk and 200ml/7fl oz of water and turn the heat up to high. As soon as it boils, reduce the heat to low. If it overheats, the coconut milk will split and you’ll lose your nice creamy consistency.
Take the lemon grass out, then add in the chopped cauliflower leaves and green beans or peas. Simmer gently for 2 minutes. Season with the fish sauce or the lime juice and salt.
Serve with your finished rice or noodles (if using), a wedge of lime for each person and then garnish with the coriander and chilli (if using).
Our reviewer Ruthy was utterly wowed by this recipe, and its combination of peanut and coconut milk and delicious spices. She had it first with rice, and then enjoyed the leftovers with noodles the next day and reckons it’s one of her favourite home-cooked meals of the year!
Recipe extracted with permission. Kavey Eats received a review copy of Van Life Cookbook by Danny Jack and Hailee Kukura from publishers Pavilion. Book photography by Holly Farrier. Home-cooking photography by Ruthy Jenkins.