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Cambodian White Pepper Coconut-Curry Chicken (Amok)

4 Servings

50 minutes 20 minutes active

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Amok—the national dish of Cambodia—traditionally is made with fish or chicken and coconut cream steamed in banana leaves. Our easy-to-make version simmers chicken thighs, eggplant and sweet potato on the stovetop to create an equally delicious result. Slightly earthy, subtly sweet white peppercorns are an important flavor component in this dish. Rather than dry-toast the peppercorns, we coarsely crack them, then bloom them in oil before pureeing with aromatics to make a bold paste that serves as the flavor base for the curry. Serve with with steamed rice to balance the richness of the sauce.




Don't forget to stir the coconut milk to blend in the fat that separates to the top. Don't use light coconut milk, as its flavor and consistency are too thin and watery.

50 minutes

20 minutes active


  • 3

    tablespoons white peppercorns

  • -pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces


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Bill O.
May 30, 2022
Chicken thighs, eggplant and sweet potato are some of our favorite things and they went together perfectly in this dish.
Kelly C.

This is such a flavorful recipe and even better the next day. I couldn’t find whole white peppercorns so used black which gives it more of a kick. Great comfort food!

William D.

Excellent recipe. I've made this many times now. A big hit with the family.

Sharon J.

I had the opportunity to visit Cambodia a few years ago with a good friend, who also happens to be Cambodian. This is one of her favorite dishes and quickly became one of mine. It absolutely tastes better, and more like my memory, the next day. Will definitely be making again!

stephanie e.

I made this dish tonight with the plan to eat it tomorrow after reading the reviews that say its even better the next day. I have really never used white peppercorns before and noticed a very earthy, odd smell and taste from it. I am wondering if anyone else has had that experience with white peppercorns. It is a brand new unopened bottle so I assume its fresh. Hopefully the flavor will mellow overnight and I will like it better. So weird because I like everything! Would love any feedback from MSK! Thank you!

Lynn C.

Hi Stephanie -

We would love to hear how you liked the dish now that you've had a chance to try it! White pepper can be a polarizing ingredient - some love it and some hate it. It's also highly dependent on quality. White peppercorns are soaked to remove their skins before they are dried and packaged. If poorly processed (meaning it was packaged before all of the water evaporated during soaking), they can take on a slightly fermented, barnyard-y flavor. To ensure quality, the color should be a creamy white—not beige, but also not bleach white (sometimes sulfur or other chemicals are added to make the peppercorns look extra bright). Their size should be as uniform as possible, with no visible specks of gray or black. And a mention of origin on the label is always a good sign. This is probably a spice to spend a little more on to get the best quality. Hope that helps!

The Milk Street Team

Mary R.

I experienced the same... very funky, almost barnyard-ish smell. Really tried to enjoy, but honestly... just gross. Family turned up noses and we tossed it out.

Alex H.

Just make sure you're not using Muntok white peppercorns, which are intensely pungent and musky.

Alex H.

Just make sure you're not using Muntok white peppercorns, which are intensely pungent and musky.

Bill O.

Very good dish. You have to be comfortable with the smell of fish sauce to get into it, lol. Mary R lost out by not getting past that. I cut the sweet potato into 1 inch cubes and they took about an hour to get tender. I'd cut them smaller next time. Used black peppercorns, didn't have white. Will make again.