Clams are a great way to get into seafood stews and curries if you aren't quite ready to take the plunge into fish, and this stew, made with chilies, ginger, turmeric, tomatoes, and coconut, is a particularly good way to enjoy them.
Why this recipe works:
- Mild but balanced seasoning brings out the oceany aroma of the clams, without requiring a massive pantry of spices.
- Par-cooking the clams and then straining the liquid allows you to remove any excess sand easily without losing any flavor.
- 1 pound fresh littleneck clams
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 5 green chillis slit lenthwise
- 1 large onion chopped fine
- 1/2 inch piece of ginger chopped fine
- 8-10 curry leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 tomato chopped fine
- 3 tablespoons grated fresh coconut flesh
- Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vinegar or lime juice
- Hearty white bread or rice for serving
In a large pot, cover the clams with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until all the clams are open, transfering them to a colander in the sink as they open. Once all clams open, remove pot from heat. Shuck clams, discarding shells (if desired—shells can be left on) and dipping the clams in the warm liquid in the pot to rinse off any excess grit. Allow liquid to cool and sand to settle on bottom of pot. Pour off liquid through a fine mesh strainer over the clams discard sand.
Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium high heat until shimmering. Add chillies, onions, ginger, and curry leaves and cook, stirring, until onions are slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add turmeric and pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add coconut milk and chopped tomato and bring to a gentle boil. Add grated coconut. Add the clams and the strained stock. Add vinegar or lime juice. Simmer for 1 minute and season with salt to taste. Serve immediately with bread or rice.