Clams, one of the many treasures of the sea that I did not grow up on , but boy I wish I did! I love every kind of mollusc I have tasted so far and clams are no exception. My first exposure to clams were during a trip to Goa on the Western Coast of India and personally feel that they are a perfect appetizer which can be enjoyed during any meal of the day. Incidentally this dish is inspired by my trip to Goa and is heavy on flavors commonly found in the Western coast of India. The coconut curry broth provides a perfect base to steam the clams , thus infusing the aromatic coastal flavors of the the coconut curry into the clam.
There are different kinds of clams one can come across in the market depending on where you live in the world such as razor clam , atlantic jackknife clam, soft shell clam, giant clam , littleneck clam etc. For this dish little neck clams have been selected as they make up for the tiny amount of meat with a huge amount of flavor.
The crucial step before proceeding to the broth is to clean the clams. Clams must be soaked in clean fresh water for 45 minutes to an hour to remove any sand or grit present in them. Please note do not use tap water as chlorine in the tap water will kill the clams, bottled water is preferable. Make sure while buying the clams they are not open. Open clams indicate they are dead and should be discarded.
For the broth
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 2 Scallions
- 1 medium sized onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 red chilli
- 1 teaspoon turmeric (alternatively fresh turmeric can be used)
- 1 small knob of ginger
- Small handful of peanuts.
- 2 Tablespoon Soya sauce
- 1 Lemon
- 1/8th stick of Butter
1. Chop onion , ginger and garlic coarsely. Add it to a mortar . Add the turmeric, red chilli, 1 tablespoon soya sauce , peanuts to the mortar. Zest the lemon over the mixture and season with salt. Add a teaspoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon canola or any other white oil (canola , peanut or sunflower oil yield the best results).
2. Using a pestle grind it down to a fine paste as shown. Use only half of this paste, the other half can be preserved for usage in chicken,shrimp or fish curry dishes later.
3. Heat oil in a saucepan. When the oil is hot add the curry paste along with 1 tablespoon soya sauce. Cook the paste for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
4. Add the coconut milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer the mixture. An aromatic flavorful broth is produced. Taste at this stage to determine the seasoning . Adjust the heat to medium.
5. Add the clams, cover the saucepan and cook for 4-5 minutes in medium heat. Discard any clams that do not open.
6. Add butter and let it melt for a nice glossy finish.
7. Remove the clams from the broth and place them in a bowl. Strain the broth and serve it over the clams.Garnish with scallions, and add a few drops of lemon juice to taste. They can be served with freshly baked bread or can be enjoyed as such!