Little Neck Clams in Coconut Curry Soup

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Clams! Yum right? I always wanted to learn how to cook these little suckers, but I was always worried that they might be too complicated. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they are even easier than making an omelette!  Seriously no joke here people, this dish is so easy, but so delicious that it will make even your most anti-seafood friends scarf down bowl after bowl of this yummy dish!

I don’t know about you, but I love curry. Anything in curry makes me happy. A soup that combines the rich spiciness of curry with the crisp sweetness of coconut is perfect for me. I know that often times many foreigners don’t like to cook with curry, but I really love the extra kick it adds to all of my food.

Today I will be sharing with you a quick easy recipe you can make with Little Neck Clams.

Little Neck Clams

Little Neck Clams

For starters what are little neck clams you may ask? Well these edible clams are little marine mollusks that live along the eastern coast of North & Central America. They are also called: hard clams or chowder clams. These clams come in many different sizes.

images

Some are really small.

Some are large.

Some are large.

Looking at these little creatures at first it might be hard to imagine someone actually eating them. These clams can be prepared in several ways. They can be eaten raw with cocktail sauce, horseradish, and lemon. They can be steamed and dipped in butter. Most of the time though this breed of clam is most often used in soups and stews.

Today I’m going to share with you all a recipe I learned for Little Neck Clams in Coconut Curry.

Little Neck Clams in Coconut Curry Soup

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups of store bought Tamarind Chili Sauce
  • Sesame Oil
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped shallots
  • 2 teaspoons of diced peeled ginger
  • a pinch of chili powder
  • 1 cup of thickly sliced white mushrooms
  • 3 cups of little neck clams
  • 1- 8 oz. can of coconut milk ( you can add more coconut milk if you want more soup liquid).
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro
  • Optional: Plain rice crackers as garnish

Tools:

  • a pan
  • a wok
  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • slotted spoon for stirring the clams
  • a stove

Directions: 

  1. If your clams are frozen then first you need to let them thaw.  Make sure to thaw them overnight by soaking them in clean water in a bowl in the refrigerator the day before you will cook with them. Just place the frozen clams in an airtight container filled with ice water that is enough to cover them all completely.  Raw clams only survive two days in the refrigerator before bacteria renders the seafood unsafe to eat. So if you thaw them out you need to be ready to use them immediately.
  2. After your clams have been thawed you want to quickly rinse them off in cool water making sure to remove any grime or sand that might have come out of them while they thawed.
  3. To cook the clams first wash, dry, and chop up your shallots, ginger, mushrooms, and cilantro.
  4. Next take out your wok and turn the heat on to medium. Put some sesame oil in the wok and then add in the chopped shallots, ginger, and mushrooms. Also add in the pinch of chili powder.  Stir the ingredients in the pan for about a minute in the pan before you add in anything else.
  5. After that throw in the little neck clams into the wok with the shallots and mushroom. Let the mixture simmer in the water until it comes to a rolling boil. Allow the clams to cook in the boiling water. Allow the clams to simmer for 3 to 7 minutes. The clams should begin to open up on their own in this time period. If any of the shells have not opened after 7 minutes discard them because this means that the clams aren’t fresh enough to eat.
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This is how they should look after the clams have boiled.

6. Once the liquid has boiled and most of the clams have opened up add in the coconut milk and wait for the mixture to come to a boil again.

7. Add in the cilantro and the 3 cups of Tamarind Chili sauce and stir into the pot until the sauce dissolves into the liquid soup. Wait until the sauce comes up to a boil again.

8. After the sauce has boiled, add in the entire can of coconut milk, and mix it in. Just as a note: coconut milk and coconut crème are two different things. Coconut crème is too thick to be used in in this dish, and it will not dissolve to form the soup, so make sure that you use the milk.

9. Allow the mixture to continue to cook until the rest of the shells open for about 3 more minutes then turn off the heat.

10. Put the soup in a bowl and top it with a rice cracker and serve. You can also pour this soup  on top of some steamed rice and eat it like that. Bon apetit!

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This is how your soup and clams will look like when they are done! Delicious!

Egyptian Red Lentil Soup: Yatz

Hello all! I have decided to mix things up and share with you all a dish from my culture. If you don’t know it already I happen to be Egyptian. One of my favorite foods when it is cold or rainy out is Egyptian Red Lentil Soup, or “Yatz” in Arabic.

Lentil_Soup

I recently made this dish for a dinner party where All three of my guests were strict vegetarians. It was a big hit with them. They devoured every last drop of the huge pot I made in this post in just one sitting. So I thought that if these three non-Egyptian friends of mine were so enamored with this soup, that it might be best to spread the love even further and share it with all of you as well!

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Ingredients:

  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 2 thick carrots
  • 2 white onions
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • a pinch of Pepper
  • a pinch of chili powder
  • 5 cups water (not pictured)
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 clove of Garlic ( mine in that picture has been pureed)
  • 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

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You will also need: 

  • a large pot
  • a blender

Cooking Directions:

2015-03-11 13.27.381) Wash, peel , cut all the vegetables, and drain.

2) Put the lentils in a colander and fully rinse off. Wash the lentils multiple times until the water is no longer cloudy.

This is still cloudy. You need to continue to rinse the lentils until the water  is clear.

This is still cloudy. You need to continue to rinse the lentils until the water is clear.

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If you can see on the right that the water is clear. After I rinsed it I drained the water and left it in a strainer for a few minutes until the water dripped off.

3) Go to the huge pot that you will use on the stove. Turn the heat on to medium.Add in the spoons of oil first. Then add in the butter and wait until it completely melts and stir them together.

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2015-03-11 13.34.524) Heat the oil until you can feel the heat it gives off when you put your hand above the pot. Then add in the chopped onions and sautee until the edges on the onions are golden.

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2015-03-11 13.45.245) Add in the lentils, 5 cups of water, and the rest of the chopped vegetables. Stir the pot so that everything is evenly distributed throughout the pot.

2015-03-11 13.46.28

2015-03-11 13.46.512015-03-11 13.47.276) Add in all of the spices and garlic and stir the pot again.

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2015-03-11 13.48.397) As soon as the mixture boils , set the the heat to “low”.

8) Stir the mixture again to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

9) Let the soup stay on the heat for 15 more minutes stirring constantly so it doesn’t stick to the bottom or burn. You will know that it is done when you can pierce the carrots with a fork and they are soft. If after 15 minutes the carrots are not soft, then wait until they are done before you proceed to the next step.

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After awhile on the heat the water will get cloudy and the color will dull.

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This is how it will look after 15 minutes.

10) Once the carrots are done, turn off the heat, and put the soup in the blender. You want to do this while the soup is still hot so it will blend smoothly. Turn the blender on high and leave it on until the soup is blended smooth. During this step you can adjust the soup to make it thinner if you like by adding in some more water.Once it is smooth, pour it back into the pan, and bring it to a boil again if you added more water into it. If you did not add water into then it is ready to eat!

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Before

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During

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After

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See it became a liquid soup!

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It’s done!

11) Serve with lemon, vinegar, onions, pepper, salt, and toasted pita bread.

Lentil_Soup

12) You may store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week. Or you may freeze it and it will keep for a few months. To reheat, you can heat up in microwave or on the stove. You also may add more  water to better regulate the thickness of the soup as it gets older. Enjoy!

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