Most of the time the Husband and I agree on things like our love to travel, our love of sushi, and our love for each other but there are times when we differ so much that we are the reason they made up the saying “opposites attract” (my blue moon narcissistic moment, haha). For example, I think oysters, mussels and clams were the oceans greatest gift to us and HE DOES NOT. So, I find I never cook these wonderful little mollusks when he and I dine together.
I saw an opportunity as the Husband is at work during the day to make a dish with clams. I bought some manila clams at the Asian market and along with a few other ingredients I had all the makings of hoy lai phad naam prik pao, or clams with basil and roasted chili paste.
I have had a hard time finding the brand of chili paste that I used to buy in Thailand but Aroy-D (translation: delicious good) makes a good chili paste.
What you will need:
1 lb manila clams (or any other variety you like)
1 T peanut oil, or a vegetable oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small shallot, sliced
1 T roasted chili paste
3-5 Thai chilies, sliced lengthwise in half
1-2 Thai chilies, slice in rings for garnish
1/2 bunch Thai Basil
1/4 c of water
What you will do:
1. In a wok (or skillet) heat oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and shallots and stir-fry until an aroma develops. Add chili paste and stir to incorporate. Add the water a little at a time to loosen the sauce.
2. As sauce is coming to a boil, add the clams and stir-fry until the clams open. After clams are open turn off the heat and add the basil. Toss to wilt the basil and then transfer to serving dish. Top with sliced chilies for garnish and a little more basil for presentation.
This dish is really easy to make for one or for more. This recipe was for 1-2 people but can easy be adjusted to feed more. It has a wonderful sweet and spicy balance of flavors. This dish needs to be spicy, so if you can’t stand the heat stay away from this recipe!
Clams should be closed when you buy them. If they are open and if you tap them lightly on the counter and they do not close it means they are dead and you should discard them. If a clam doesn’t open up after cooking, discard.
Cheers and happy eating!