Mmmmmm….. I love clams! I also love mussels, and oysters and snails and all kinds of mollusks and shellfish: Make that seafood, period. A lot of people are intimidated with cooking seafood, but it’s really the easiest thing in the world to prepare. If you live near the water, it’s also probably not so expensive. But even if you don’t, try shopping at an ethnic market instead of Whole foods. That 2 lb. bag of mussels that Whole Foods sells for $15.99 might cost you only $5.99 at a supermarket like H-Mart, a Korean chain in my area. Of course, you’re going to make sure that whatever you are buying is fresh and not out of date. That goes without saying, right. You can’t be too careful with any seafood these days, and with this whole situation going on in Japan, I would advise against purchasing any seafood from the Pacific. I even bought farm-raised shrimp for the first time over wild-caught shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico, which is still recovering from the BP oil spill.
When you bring your seafood home, you want to store and clean in properly as well. With clams and mussels, I usually put them in a bowl in the fridge and cover it with a wet towel. I would not store them more than a day before eating them, too. To clean clams, fill a pot with about 4 quarts cold water and add 1/3 cup of salt. Soak them for about 15 minutes, change the water, and do this same thing 2 moire times. This small step will cause the clams to release much of the sand and grit from inside their shells. Also, discard any clams that do not close when you touch them. These poor guys are already dead. The same goes for any clams that do not open when you cook them. Other than that, follow this quick and easy recipe and enjoy! Clams are good food!
Time Saving Tip: Use Maesri brand prepared red curry paste instead of making your own roasted chili paste. This popular Thai brand uses no artificial preservatives or ingredients and tastes fantastic!
1/3 cup oil
1 1/4 lbs. clams in shell, cleaned well
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
5 fresh red chillies, sliced lengthwise
2 Tbsp. roasted chili paste (see below)
2 Tsp. light soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
large handful Thai Basil leaves (horapa)
1.) Heat oil in wok, Add the clams and garlic and cook until the clams open slightly.
2.) Add the fresh chilies, chili paste and soy sauce and mix well.
3.) Add chicken stock.
4.) Stir in basil and serve immediately over rice.
Roasted Chili Paste:
2 cups vegetable oil
8 shallots, sliced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup dried prawns
1/2 cup small dried chillies
1 Tbsp. palm sugar
3 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. tamarind juice
1/4 – 1/2 Tsp. salt
1.) Heat oil in wok and fry shallots and garlic until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain.
2.) Add dried prawns and chilies and fry until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain.
3.) In a food processor or blender, combine prawns, garlic, chillies, shallots, and sugar until well blended. Add the fish sauce, tamarind juice, salt and cooled oil from the wok and blend to a finely textured paste.