I love love love seafood. You name it, I like it. Of course, the regular stuff.. not eels and sea-urchin and stuff like that. My mother recently posted a picture of the clam and spinach curry that she made. It made me so nostalgic and I had such a craving for clams that I went to the fish market, got fresh clams and spinach and made it right away. Clams mixed with Malbar spinach ( Waali) is a classic traditional konkani dish. The mere aroma of it will leave one drooling.. That on a bed of rice is sheer heaven! I had not bought for several years now. When I went to the fish market I found these huge clams for a great price. Needless to say, I was thrilled. I bought half-a-dozen and cooked it for dinner right away! Did I relish every bit.. Hmmm.. Yum, yum, yum!! Sometimes, happiness is in the simplest things!
Clams: 6-7 if big, 30-40 if small.
Spinach: one bunch, cleaned and chopped.
Freshly grated coconut: 2 cups( 1/2 grated coconut)
Dried Red chillies: 4-6 ( adjust according to your spice level)
Tamarind: marble size
Haldi( turmeric powder): 1/2 tsp
Asofoetida( hing): pinch if powder( 1 tsp if solution).
Coconut oil: 1 tsp
Salt: to taste
Boil the clams with 1/4 cup water for 5-8 minutes or until the shells slightly open up. Remove the flesh, clean it and keep aside in a bowl.
Drain the water used to boiling the clams to get rid of any sand in it.
Add this water to the shellfish in a pot with the cleaned and chopped spinach. Cook it on medium flame until it is tender( 8-10mins). Keep aside.
Using a blender, grind together freshly grated coconut, red chillies, tamarind, little water and haldi to a fine paste.
Add this to the pot containing the cooked clams and spinach. Add salt and asofoetida and bring it to a boil.
Turn off the flame. Drizzle a little raw coconut oil on top.
Serve hot with steamed rice/ idlis/bread/ roti.
Cooking made easy:
While picking clams at the fish market, look for ones whose shells are unopened. They are fresher.
Clams can be opened without boiling,using a pairing knife. This for me is time consuming. Boiling it for few minutes automatically opens the shells an is easier to handle.
Make sure that the clams are cleaned thoroughly not only from sand and dirt, but the flesh needs to be cleaned as well. Take off the black gooey part in the flesh of the clams and discard. If you don't do this you could end up with an upset stomach.
Cooking clams well also helps prevent an upset stomach.
Tip for healthy living:
Asofoetida or hing as it is known in India is a spice that has been traditionally used in Indian cooking for hundreds of years now.It is the dried latex exuded from the tap root of Ferula, a perennial herb that is native to Iran, Afghanistan and India. It has a strong smell but when added to cooked dishes imparts a delicious aroma to the food cooked.
It is also known as the food of the gods and rightly so as it is a great digestive aid. It is used when cooking gassy vegetables and lentils. It prevents bloating and flatulence.
Food for thought:
Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.Oscar wilde