Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Masala Clams

Time to make Shauna's favorites again. Something she can sink her teeth into after the long drive home. She reckons I will make Indian food she loves, so these clams will make the perfect accompaniment to the spicy mutton curry she craves. I find big meaty Cherrystone clams. Ones I know will be an adequate reliquery for onions and masala. A little chopped onion, freshly grated coconut and a sprinkling of masala adds so much flavor to a bland clam. 

This mollusk is really popular in our house. Allergies prevent the kids from eating oysters, shrimp or crab, but clams only elicit a positive reaction... the mouthwatering kind! So I make soup, chowder, pasta alle vongole and clam dip. Masala tisriyos, as they are called in Bombay, have been at my table since I discovered them in 1980. Mum made these from the small clams found at the local fish market. Though, going to buy them was my personal nightmare! The market, reeking of a distinct odor, along with fish that sit on a thin veneer of crushed ice, oozing fluids of all sorts, is not my happy place. These clams come from good ole USA. I say that as I attempt to buy local as much as I can. 

Doing prep work for the clams takes me down memory lane. As I spice and flavor, the clink and clank of hard shells  brings to mind Mum dishing out noisy spoonfuls at dinner. Those were good times, our family of five, sitting across the round table, sharing, laughing, eating meals now permanently etched in my memory. I say this with a lump in my throat and a happy memories in my heart.

Serves 4

2 dozen Clams
3 tablespoons Canola oil
2 medium-sized Onions
1/2 teaspoon Chile powder
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon Garam masala
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Water
1/2 cup freshly grated Coconut
1/2 cup Cilantro

Rinse clams well to remove sandy grit. 

Put clams in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Place pan on a high flame and let the water come to a vigorous boil. Maintain heat for 4-5 minutes till clams open. Remove them from the water as they start opening.

Let clams cool. Then remove the empty shell so you only have a shell with clam. Keep clams aside.

Peel and cut onions in half. Slice onions thinly crosswise.

Heat oil in a stainless steel pan. 

Add sliced onions and sauté till translucent, about 3-5 minutes.

Nestle clams over onions.

Sprinkle chile powder, turmeric, Garam masala and salt over clams. Stir so masala 
coats clams and onions.

Add water, cover and let clams cook for 5 minutes.

Chop cilantro roughly.

Scatter coconut and cilantro over clams and sauté for a few minutes more.

Enjoy them hot and spicy!!

The lump in my throat segues into a full fledged craving!! Rumbling stomachs anticipate the prodigal feast. Mutton curry made with pearl onions and green beans bubbles stovetop. I fry cutlets. Butternut squash is anointed with cracked mustard seeds and flecks of green chile.  A bowl of steaming rice and dal awaits our hungry daughter.  She is going to be one happy clam. 

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