In an effort to reduce my carbon footprint, I have been incorporating more seafood and less meat into my meals. Salmon, tuna, halibut, and shrimp are usually on the menu, but sometimes I want a break from the routine. When the market had a sale on clams this past weekend, I immediately jumped at the chance to buy a couple of pounds and came home to whip together Thai coconut lemongrass clams. The clams are simmered in a fragrant coconut clam broth and served with rice vermicelli and topped with fresh herbs. The perfect balanced meal that comes together in no time!
Thai Coconut Lemongrass Clams
- 8 ounces thin rice vermicelli
- 2 lb clams
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 Thai chile
- ½ tablespoon fresh ginger minced
- ½ tablespoon garlic minced
- 2 shallots minced
- 16 ounces clam stock
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 cup coconut milk
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 cups Chinese spinach
- ½ cup scallions chopped
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
- ½ cup Thai basil chopped
- lime wedges for serving
- Rinse the thin rice vermicelli noodles in cold water and let soak until ready to use.
- Soak the clams in fresh water for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the 2 Thai chile, ½ tablespoon ginger, ½ tablespoon garlic, and 2 shallots. Saute for 1 minute or until lightly browned. Add 16 ounces clam stock, 1 teaspoon lime zest, and 1 stalk lemongrass. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid and season the soup with 2 teaspoon brown sugar, 2 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 cup coconut milk, and juice of 1 lime. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring it back to a boil.
- Meanwhile, boil a medium pot of water. Add the vermicelli noodles and cook until softened. Drain and rinse in cold water.
- Add the clams to the lemongrass stock along with 2 cups of Chinese spinach. Cover the pot and cook until the clam shells begin to open, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the noodles. Remove from heat and top with ½ cup scallions, ½ cup cilantro, and ½ cup Thai basil.
- Portion the clams and noodles into bowls and finish with a squeeze of lime.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
I love preparing clams because when they are fresh, they are so juicy and delicious. Not only that, they cook in a matter of minutes! Keeping this in mind, gather all of your ingredients before cooking, also known as "mise en place." For these Thai coconut lemongrass clams, you'll be needing fresh ginger, garlic, lemongrass, plenty of fresh herbs, and seasonings including fish sauce, brown sugar, lime, and coconut milk.
Sometimes the market will clean the clams for you but if they don't, soak the shellfish in freshwater for 20 minutes. You might just catch a clam spitting out some sand. If any of the clams are opened, give it a light tap. If the clam immediately closes, it's still alive, but if it doesn't, throw it away.
While the clams are soaking in water, soak the rice vermicelli noodles in cold water as well. Soaking the noodles helps them soften and cook faster later.
Now it's time to make the broth. Saute the aromatics including Thai chile, ginger, garlic, and shallots. Add clam stock along with lime zest and lemongrass and simmer the broth for 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to develop.
Next, cook the vermicelli noodles until softened. Drain and rinse in cold water; we'll throw them back in the stock to heat them up.
Add the clams to the stock along with Chinese spinach and cover the pot, steaming the clams until the shells open. Add back the noodles and finish with all the fresh herbs.
I love my Thai coconut lemongrass clams with a squeeze of fresh lime juice just to add a little acidity. Slurp up the noodles and savor that delicious broth. What a great meal served!
For more clam inspiration check out these Japanese sake clams!