Monday, March 5, 2012

Amok chouk, Steamed snails in curry custard

Amok chouk ,Steamed snails in curry custard 
Amok is a curried coconut custard that is generally steamed in a small container
hand-formed from a section of banana leaf. a specialty of malaysia, hybrid
versions appear in both Thai and cambodian cooking. While freshwater fish such
as catfish is used in many amok recipes, this delicious and dramatic version uses
snails, and the snails and custard are cooked in the shells. Serve this as an appetizer
or light lunch or as part of a dinner with vegetables and rice on the side. be sure to
buy canned burgundian snails, which are usually sold in a package with clean shells.
The exact snail-to-custard ratio will depend on the relative size of the snail and
shell; the custard should not overflow the shell.
1/4 cup red Kroeung (p264)
2 cups thick coconut milk (p213)
1 tbsp shrimp paste
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp palm sugar or superfine sugar (optional)
1 large egg, beaten
grated zest of 1/2 lime
1 stalk lemongrass, leaves separated and cut
into 24 pieces, each 4 in (10 cm) long
24–36 snail shells, well cleaned
24–36 cooked burgundian snails (about 2 cans), rinsed and drained
6 kaffir lime leaves, very finely julienned
4 red Thai chilies, seeded and very thinly  sliced into rounds
in a mixing bowl, stir and mash together the
kroeung, half of the coconut milk, the shrimp paste, fish sauce, and sugar to a smooth consistency. add the remaining coconut milk, the egg, and kaffir lime zest and mix well. Season with salt, if necessary.
Fold a piece of lemongrass leaf and set it inside a snail shell so both ends of the leaf stick out.
Half-fill the shell with the coconut mixture. Place a snail in the center and fill with more coconut
mixture. Set the snail, open end up, on a bamboo steaming rack. Repeat with the remaining lemongrass pieces, shells, coconut mixture, and snails. as you fill the steaming rack, the snails will butt up against each other and find enough support to stand. (if using a 6- or 12-portion stainless steel or ceramic snail plate, simply set the snails directly on the plate, and the plate on the bamboo steaming rack.) Half-fill a wok with water and set the covered bamboo steamer on top (the base of the steamer should not touch the water). bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-low and steam the snails for about 15 minutes or until the custard is set but still moist. Serve the snails hot, garnished with the kaffir lime leaves and chilies. To eat, simply pull out the lemongrass strands, dislodging the snail in the process.

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