Thursday, November 27, 2008
Clams in Noodle Soup
Clams are one of the more affordable live seafood available in this tropical country. At fifty to eighty pesos a kilo (roughly US $1 to $ 1.50) , its tasty and flavorful meat can feed 5 to 6 people or when we add extenders, maybe even more.
I know many people do not like to eat clams because clams are known as the scavengers of the sea. With many bio-toxins polluting our seas, many people believe that the clams are full of bio-toxins as well. That is why it pays to know where your clams are sourced.
We do not often eat clams. But sometimes we do get a craving for its tasty and flavorful meat. And when we do, we prefer the Palawan clams (a local variety of shell) because we believe that these are cultured, and hopefully, "cleaner" than those harvested from the seas.
My grandmother, and my mother believe that clams should be cooked fresh and while they are still alive. That means - no to frozen or canned. But I think if the clams are fresh frozen (without shells) and cooked properly from its frozen state, the clams are still edible and may even be as delicious as the fresh ones.
Clams are delicious and nutritious. As with the other seafood, it is packed with protein, vitamins and minerals like iodine and zinc.
But the problem with fresh clams is the cleaning!!!
Since clams bury themselves in sand or underwater soil, they are full of grits. These grits, you have to brush off from each and every one of the shells -- this job really takes a lot of patience. Then, after cleaning the outer shell, the vendors would recommend to soak the shells in tap water for several hours so that the clams would spit out the sands and grits they have in their inside digestive system. For the Palawan clams that I buy, my (suki) vendor would always tell me that she had already soaked them and that they are ready for cooking.
For this batch of clams, Hubby wanted me to cook the clams in soup, with tofu and mustard greens. Yummy! Perfect for the rainy evenings we are having nowadays. Then, I mentioned that I needed a pasta dish for my weekly Presto Pasta Nights events, and it is nearly the Friday deadline... so we agreed to add noodles to our soup. Hubby loves noodles, he does not refuse any dish with noodles. With the addition of noodles, this clam soup became a filling one dish evening meal for all of us!
It was then that I realized that Wow! That is how much I love blogging and blogging events! It is starting to influence what dishes we are having on the table!!! Is this good or bad??? :)
1 kilo fresh clams, cleaned
5 slices of fresh ginger
5 T minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
3 C water
4 pcs crabsticks, sliced
3 packs of instant Japanese ramen noodles
salt and pepper to taste
sesame oil, optional
1. Saute the ginger in a little oil until fragrant. Add onions and garlic and saute until fragrant but not burnt. Increase the temperature of the cooking, add in the clams and stir fry immediately.
2. Add in the water, cover and cook in high heat. When the water boils and all the clams are opened, remove all the clams to a plate or bowl with a slotted spoon. Set aside.
3. Boil the clam soup again, add in the ramen noodles (we were able to buy ramen noodles made in Korea. Hubby loves the texture of these noodles.) Cook until the specified time (ours was 3 minutes.) Add in the crabsticks. Add back the clams. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve immediately and add some drops of sesame oil, if preferred.
Fresh clams are already super flavorful and tasty, you do not need any broth or extra flavoring. Just salt and pepper is enough. Clams are also perfect as soup base for any noodles, again because of its superb flavor. I know a friend who uses clam broth as their broth for soups instead of pork or chicken bones. Actually it makes sense because clams are easy to cook (saves on gas with less cooking time) and it is indeed flavorful enough to stand alone as a soup base. Plus, it has no fat, less calories than chicken and pork. Hmmm... I might be a convert, too!
Sharing this tasty dish with the Presto Pasta Nights community, headed by Rith of Once Upon A Feast. This week, the host is Daphne of More Than Words. To see last week's delicious pasta dishes, please check out the round-up done by Nilmandra of Soy and Pepper.