Halaan (clam) soup
We spent yesterday at the Greenhills Shopping Center. I was planning on getting supplies for my computer but since the kids were with us, we ended up at the tiangge (flea market) instead. Then, it was too late to go to the computer shops. We still needed to go to the supermarket and then the wet market after that. It was late in the afternoon when we finished with the supermarket. The kids fell asleep almost immediately after getting into the car. My husband suggested we visit the newly-opened “Market Market” at Global City in Fort Bonifacio, a shopping mall and wet market in one complex. We went there but couldn’t find a place to park. “Market Market” is not even fully operational yet. And the crowd was… people from the nearby neighborhoods were arriving on foot. All we saw was the outside of the complex and an endless sea of cars and people. We decided we’d come back another day. Since we still needed to buy our weeks’ supply of fish and seafood, we proceeded to good old trusty Taytay public market.
It was around 5.00 p.m. when we reached Taytay. Despite the lateness of the hour, the place was still teeming with seafood. I had to go in alone since the hubby had to stay in the car with the sleeping kids. With the succession of typhoons past us, yesterday’s seafood prices were reasonable. With PhP 500.00 (less than US $ 10.00) I was able to buy 1-1/4 kilos of hito (catfish), 1-1/2 kilos of tilapia (St. Peter’s fish), a big bangus that weighed over a kilo, 3/4 kilo of alumahan, half a kilo of halaan (clams) and some vegetables. Dinner last night was fried hito and halaan soup with lots of sili leaves.
1/2 kilo of clams
a bunch of sili leaves
a thumb-sized piece of ginger
1/2 head of garlic
patis (fermented fish sauce)
1 tbsp. of cooking oil
Cooking procedure :
Buy clams that are still alive. Look at the clams closely. If you see a shell that is partially open, tap the shell. If the shell closes, the clam is alive. Chances are most of the clams in the bunch would be alive as well. It would be a good idea to ask the vendor if the clams had been pre-soaked in water to expel the sand. If not, you will have to do this yourself when you get home. This will take several hours to make sure that all the sand is expelled. Hence, if you intend to cook the clams immediately, it is best to buy those that had already been soaked and cleaned.
If you need to soak the clams yourself, wash the clams, changing the water several times. Place the clams in a deep bowl and cover with water. Let sit in the fridge for half a day. Discard the water, wash several times then drain.
Julienne the ginger. Peel and crush the garlic. Thinly slice the onion. Pick the sili leaves and discard the stalks.
Boil six cups of water.
Heat the cooking oil in a sauce pan or casserole. Saute the garlic, ginger and onion until fragrant. Pour in the boiling water. Add the clams. Season with patis. The clams should open within two minutes after the water starts boiling again. Boil for another 30-45 seconds then turn off the heat. Place the sili leaves on top and cover for 5-10 minutes before serving.