Prohok is a kind of fish paste which may be known to foreigners as fish cheese or Cambodian cheese. It’s Cambodian special food. Prohok can be eaten raw or cooked, and can eat as main dish or used as supplement ingredient in other Khmer foods, especially soups. Prohok has a strong and distinct smell. Some people do not like to eat prohok because of its smell. Just like some people feel uncomfortable with the smell of Durian.
Prohok was made from crushed fresh fish, fermented for at least one month with a lot of salt. Just because it’s too salty that prohok can be stored for years as preserved food. Prohok can be made from many kinds of fish, but the best one selected was Riel fish (ត្រីរៀល). The fish is about 10-12cm long only.
Below is a receipt of favorite and easy-to-cook Khmer food made of prohok called Prohok Khtis (ប្រហុកខ្ទិះ)
Ingredients needed: fork or bacon, coconut milk, fried chili, and prohok flesh (prohok that already taken out the fish bone), and a kind of Khmer eggplant called “trop put lum nhong” (ត្រប់ពុតលំញង).
Preparation: Fried chili must be minced. Fork and prohok flesh must be minced together too.
1. Turn cooker on with moderate heat, first put in coconut milk into your pan, and boil it a few minutes, till it has oily on the surface. Do not pour in too much coconut milk at first, you can add more later. It depends on how much pork you have.
2. Put in minced fried chili, stir fry with coconut milk to make a good color of yellow-red.
3. Put in the minced fork and prohok, stir fry it for a few minutes, then putting in seasoning, sugar, soup power, or other ingredient of your favorite taste. But remember that do not add salt, since prohok is already salty. Just when the fork is well cooked, your Prohok Khtis is ready with the great smell of coconut milk and prohok. It’s enough to make you feel hungry.
We need fresh vegetables to eat with prohok khtis. We might have cucumber, tomato, eggplant, cabbage, long bean, or any other as you like. For Cambodian, we have many Khmer vegetables for eating with prohok such as, popeay, green banana, pka komplork, kanh chhaek, pka snorw, etc.
Every time my mom cook food with prohok, she must cook more rice than usual, because I would eat a big meal with prohok
Recipe by Miss Leakana