Mussels and Clams with Lemongrass

Belle loves mussels and clams. We were trying to figure out what to have for dinner last Monday and I thought, what about Thai food? Belle said, “Great, how about clams?”

I really don’t eat a lot of mussels or clams but I know she really enjoys them so I dug up a recipe with mussels and lemongrass and I added the clams, and made a few other changes too.

We also had a Thai fish curry dish, and vegetables with tofu and spinach (posts to follow soon, I hope). They were all really good.

It was a hectic night, that Monday. My older son had to be driven to do some community hours (high school requirements here in Ontario – you don’t get your high school diploma without having 40 hours of community service). Then I had to do the shopping for dinner and make dinner. And of course Dylan (our 6-1/2 year old) said, “And Daddy, I want homemade pasta tonight”. Arghhhhh.

Still, it was doable. I marinated the fish and pulled everything out that I needed for each part of the meal and set it all up (Mise en Place) so that when I got home all I had to do is cook. All went well and everyone enjoyed their dinner so I was very happy! Recipe is at end of this post.

Cooking up all the fragrant ingredients Cooking up all the fragrant ingredients

Stir-frying the mussels and clams Stir-frying the mussels and clams

Belle’s note: I love that these days, I can say, hmmm, I’d love to have some mussels and voila, Ward whips up a batch for me. He usually does them steamed, with a marvelously garlicky wine sauce, but this lemongrass version was wonderful and went well with the rest of our Thai-themed meal.

The following recipe is adapted from The Food of Thailand.

Mussels and Clams with Lemongrass (Neung Phat Hawy Maleng Phuu Ta-Khrai)

2 lbs clams
2 lbs mussels
1-1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 lemongrass stalks, white part only finely sliced
1″ piece of galangal, sliced (if you can’t find this, use ginger)
2 long green chilles (or red), seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp organic lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1 cup basil leaves (holy basil is the preferred basil), roughly chopped

  1. Scrub the mussels and clams and remove any beards. Discard and open mussels or clams (any that won’t close when tapped).
  2. Rinse them with three or four changes of water to remove any sand or grit from the clams (and mussels). Place them in a large bowl of clean water to soak for 30 minutes. (This will remove any remaining grit and sand from inside the shells.)
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok. Stir-fry over medium heat the garlic, onion, lemon grass, galangal and chillies for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the mussels and clams and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and sugar.
  5. Cover the skillet or wok loosely and cook while shaking until the mussels and clams have opened (about 8-10 minutes).
  6. Discard any unopened shells, add the basil and season to taste.
  7. Serve.
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