Friday, March 12, 2010

Kube Mutli: Clams and Rice Dumplings in Spicy Coconut Sauce

So here is the result of my first clam-buying experience.  I've passed by the shellfish table at the farmer's market so many times, sometimes stopping to look at the giant ice-filled bins overflowing with clams, mussels, oysters, even crabs and lobsters on occasion, but never brought a single one home.  But lo and behold a clam recipe in the March chapter of my cookbook - so last Saturday I brought home two dozen littlenecks from Matunuck Oyster Farm.

I made sure that steaming the clams was the only thing I had to do to finish this recipe as soon as I got home from the market.  I'd steamed the rice dumplings that morning and prepared the spice mix and sauce earlier in the week.

Like many of the other more complicated recipes in this book, this one was easy to break down into parts that I could manage before or after the workday.  I made the curry paste with dried coconut, coriander, cumin, white peppercorns and chili flakes all toasted together and pulverized in a spice grinder.  The recipe says it should be a "coarse powder" at this time but mine was definitely the texture of peanut butter.  Hmm.

The sauce is a luxurious concoction of sauteed onions, the previously-assembled coconut curry paste, garlic, turmeric, creamy organic coconut milk, and a little salt and sugar (the recipe called for tamarind but I didn't have any).

I made the rice dumplings by grinding basmati rice in my grain mill and then cooking it with water and salt until it made a thick paste.  With wet hands I rolled the paste into walnut-sized balls and steamed them for fifteen minutes.  As can be expected they're very sticky and chewy.  Probably a choking hazard.

To bring it all together I slipped the rice dumplings into the bright yellow sauce, added the clams and let them simmer together until all of the clams opened - about ten minutes.  Every single one opened!

The recipe made way more than enough sauce for the amount of clams and dumplings, so it was reincarnated on Monday night with leftover ribeye and Tuesday night with chicken legs.  I think if I were to make it again I'd skip the rice dumplings and just serve the sauce and clams (or chicken or fish) over plain rice.  More surface area = more efficient delivery of yummy coconut sauce.


Sora Chung said...

mmmm...I could just smell the clams and coconut sauce:) kudos to you for all the prep work! I'm not nearly as patient as you are, but I do <3 seafood! I guess I like anything salty and chewy.

Deborah said...

Like octopus?

Ruth Sora Chung said...

totally! There's this one Korean seafood dish that comes with tiny baby octopus in a spicy paste with thick noodles and vegetables. mmm..k I need to stop salivating.

Deborah said...

Mmm that sounds good.