Manila Clams, 3 pounds
Fresh thai red chili pepeprs, 3 -6 stems minced (mild to spicy)
Cilantro, 1 bunch
Shallots, 1 minced
Garlic, 4-5 cloves minced
Ginger, 2 cut medium slices
Lemongrass, 4 pieces pounded
Lime juice, of 2 to 3 limes (1/2 cup)
Light coconut Milk, 1 can
Palm Sugar, ¼ cup
Bacon, 4 slices chopped
Red Boat fish sauce, 3 tablespoons
CLEANING & SPITTING CLAMS
For this recipe I recommend using live manila clams. You either buy them from the seafood section of your grocery store or fish market or you fish for them. Either way, you should plan to prepare them right away once you are home. In a large prep bowl, immerse your clams in cold water. Allow them to sit in cold water for about 20 minutes to an hour depending on how dirty they are. This time is called “spitting” as the clams are literally spitting out the dirt and debris. After the spitting time is over, use a kitchen scrub to clean the exterior of the shells. Transfer the clean clams into another bowl. Set aside.
PREP YOUR INGREDIENTS
As your clams are spitting, prepare all your ingredients as indicated. Preheat your large pan over medium heat.
BACON & AROMATICS
The first things you want to cook are your bacon, garlic and shallots. Place a tablespoon of ghee, butter, or coconut oil into the center of the pan until it melts. Add the ingredients and pan fry over medium high heat until the bacon crisps and renders fat and the garlic and aromatics start to infuse the room with its yummy scent. Set aside in a separate bowl once desired crisp is attained, usually about 5-7 minutes.
In that same large pan, add your coconut milk and your pounded lemon grass sticks. Let the oils from the lemon grass infuse with the coconut milk for about 3 minutes. Add the lime juice, fish sauce and the palm sugar. Stir the sauce as you cook melting the palm sugar. You’re looking to reduce the sauce and have a thicker consistency. Add the red thai chili peppers. Cook until thick. This should take about another 5-7 minutes. Once the sauce starts to caramelize in color, add the clams into the pan making sure that they cover only 1 layer. Do not pile up the mussels on top of each other.
POPPING & WATCHING
This is the fun part. Just sit back and watch the clams pop open one by one. If the clams do not open, toss them from the pan this indicates that they’re dead and not good to eat.
Once all the clams have opened, you can turn your heat off. Serve immediately. Eat immediately. Enjoy with a beer, frites or toasted French baguettes. Oh my! Sooo delicious.