Most Filipinos know vermicelli (sotanghon) soup with chicken or pork but, let me tell you, clams make a more flavorful broth. Clams vermicelli soup needs little enhancement. The briny smell and flavor that can almost make you smell the sea are all you need and want.
I used saltwater clams for this soup. If you’re interested in a related article about clams, click here.
Here are a few tricks to make sure that you get all those wonderful clam flavors without overcooking the little rascals. It’s a bad idea to overcook clams, didn’t you know? The longer you cook them, the tougher they get.
I boiled water and threw in the clams.
As soon as the shells opened, I scooped them out and transferred them to a strainer. Out of the heat, there’s no way they’re going to get overcooked.
The liquid in which the clams cooked for such a short time is now infused with clam flavors. I wanted to add depth so into the water went aromatics.
When the aromatics had expelled their flavors into the water, I threw in the carrot slices and unsoaked vermicelli.
Why not soak the noodles in water first? Gee, why let them soak up water when they can soak up all those wonderful clam flavors?
When the noodles and carrot slices were done, I just put the clams back into the pot. To reheat them, mostly, because they were already cooked through.
The noodles went into the bottom of the bowl, the clams were piled on top of them, hot broth was poured in, sliced scallions were added and the clams vermicelli soup was ready to serve.
- 1 kilogram saltwater clams soaked for several hours, then washed and rinsed several times until no visible specks of sand remain
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced (you can get away with just peeling and crushing them, really)
- a thumb-sized piece of ginger peeled and sliced
- 1 onion peeled and finely sliced
- 300 grams good quality dried sotanghon (vermicelli)
- 1 carrot peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/8 cup shredded dried wakame (a Japanese seaweed available in Oriental stores)
- fish sauce to taste
- finely sliced onion leaves for garnish
In a large pot, boil eight cups of water. Add the clams and wait until they open.
When the clams open, scoop them out immediately and set aside.
Into the hot water, add the garlic, ginger and onion. Cover the pot and simmer for about ten minutes or until the vegetables have rendered their flavors into the broth.
Add the carrot slices and unsoaked vermicelli. Season with fish sauce. Cover and cook until the noodles swell, about ten minutes.
Turn up the heat. Return the clams to the pot and, as soon as the soup boils, turn off the heat. Add the wakame, cover the pot and leave for five minutes. Taste and season with more fish sauce, if needed.
To serve the clams vermicelli soup, place the noodles at the bottom of the bowl, top with the vegetables and clams then pour in the broth. Sprinkle with onion leaves and serve hot.