Fried Fish with Roasted Peanut & Ma’om Sauce

This was my first discovery of this wonderful Cambodian herb, Ma’om last yer. It has such a strong and pleasant taste. So aromatic and adds an exciting new taste to the dish. The citrusy flavour with a hint of black pepper I thought. Nothing like any herb I’d tasted before. And even though this dish is full of  the lovely aromatic flavours of lime leaves, lemongrass and galangal, the ma’om compliments all of these whilst adding it’s own intriguing taste that I won’t forget and am drawn to since!!

Ma’om – Herb from Cambodia

ma'om, ma-om, maom, cambodian herb

cambodian fish

ma'om, ma-om, maom, cambodian herb

Look just how beautiful they are! And they taste amazing 🙂

onion, lime leaves, dried chilli

Roots, fruits and leaves… (chillies are fruits would you believe it??)

pastes, food, curry

….to make this lovely Khmer curry paste!!

curry paste


Flame fried frimp paste, I mean ‘shrimp’.

shrimp paste in foil

roasted peanuts

My roasted nuts… 🙂  -then roughly ground in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder

  ground roasted peanuts, ground nuts

peanut sauce

cambodian fish

cambodian fish with hot peanut ma'om sauce

Fried Fish with Roasted Peanut & Ma-om Sauce


2-3 medium sized fish 1 kg total

½ bunch of ma’om – stalks removed

1 lemongrass stalk-white part only cut into 1 inch pieces

4 cloves garlic peeled

5 small stalks spring onion chopped roughly

2 tomatoes quartered

1½  tablespoon khmer curry paste

1-2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon palm sugar

1 level teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons of dry roasted peanuts crushed roughly

vegetable oil

1 teaspoon shrimp paste


1. Wrap the shrimp paste completely in a layer of aluminum foil and roast on open low flame – 30-60 seconds on each side. Be careful as it starts to burn quite easily. If you have an electric cooker then put the shrimp paste in aluminium foil and heat in a dry frying pan. Alternatively you can just fry in a bit of oil in a pan without the foil.

2. Blend the garlic, spring onions, tomatoes and lemongrass in a blender into a paste.

3. Heat the oil in saucepan on medium flame and add the Khmer curry paste. After 1-2 minutes add the shrimp paste and stir.

4. When lightly browning (another 1-2 minutes) add the blended ingredients from step 1.

5. Add 1 cup of water, then add the fish sauce, sugar and  salt. Now let simmer on low heat without lid for about 15 minutes. If starts to dry up then just add another ½ cup of water.

6. Now add the ma’am and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust with salt and sugar according to your preferential taste!!

cut cucumber

Khmer Curry Paste


2 star anise

10 dried Mexican chillies

3 dried red chillies

3-4 stalks lemongrass stalks-white part only minced in blender

10-15 kaffir lime leaves

1 inch piece galangal

1 inch piece of turmeric root or ¼ teaspoon powder

1 clove garlic

5 shallots or ½ large onion

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon palm sugar

2-3 tablespoons of roasted peanuts-half fine and half coarsely ground

¼ cup vegetable oil


1. Blend all of the ingredients together and store in a sealed glass jar. Cover the top of paste completely with oil. SHould keep without a fridge for a month. With fridge for at least 3 months.

2. You can also make portions out of the paste and wrap in plastic and freeze. Will keep for at least 6 months like this.


I ground the dry ingredients in a coffee grinder- 2 types of chillies first. Then the peanuts in 2 steps because I wanted finely ground and coarsely ground. Then the lime leaves. After that the lemongrass.

The wet ingredients come after-shallots, galangal, garlic,  sugar and salt.

Mix all of the ingredients together!

cambodian fish with hot peanut ma'om sauce

Categories: Cambodia, Fish, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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