Simple but tasty. Very low fat. This clam soup with ginger and chilies uses spices that are associated with Southeast Asian and South Asian cuisines but I can’t say that it belongs exclusively to any country’s cuisine. So I label it as simply “Asian.” Because it is. Yet, it is global too because the combination of ginger and chilies has found its way into cuisines beyond Asia.
I used Pacific clams for this dish. There are several varieties of clams and just about any variety can go into this soup. You can even choose mussels instead of clams.
Chilies are packed with flavors over and beyond the fire in the seeds and membranes. If you like to use a lot of chilies without making the soup too spicy, read If you want your chilies mildly hot instead of very hot.
Clam soup with ginger and chilies
- 600 grams fresh clams
- 2 shallots (or 1 large onion)
- 2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger
- 4 to 6 chilies (I used a combination of picante and Thai)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp vegetable cooking oil
- patis (fish sauce), to taste
- snipped cilantro for garnish
Rinse the clams in running water. Place in a bowl, cover with water and soak for several hours in the fridge, changing the water several times. The clams should open during the soaking time and expel any sand trapped inside the shells.
Before cooking the clams, rinse again several times to make sure that the water runs clear and the clams are free from any traces of sand.
Thinly slice the shallots or onion. Peel and thinly slice the ginger. Mince the garlic. Slice the chilies.
Heat the cooking oil. Saute the shallots (or onion), ginger, garlic and chilies until fragrant, about three minutes.
Pour in about six cups of water. When the water boils, dump in the cleaned clams. Bring to the boil once more and allow to boil, uncovered for one minute. Turn off the heat. Season with fish sauce. Allow the clams to finish cooking in the residual heat for about three more minutes.
Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with snipped cilantro and serve hot.