April 10, 2011

Clams Fry — Kakka Irachi Varuthathu

We love shellfish. Everyone in my family does. We especially adore clams and mussels marinated in freshly ground spices and shallow-fried with plenty of curry leaves. Much to our regret, it is simply too hard to find fresh clams or mussels in Doha and even more rare to find fried shellfish around the menus here. Sigh.
 
In the coastal area, where my husband comes from in Kerala, exotic food like shellfish is found in abundance. Truly world-class prawns, crabs and clams are plentiful, and that too with no hefty price tags. My mother-in-law uses the freshest succulent seafood to make simply rustic dishes that are just too scrumptious and finger-licking good.

 
While I write this, I am remembering the last vacation home. I remember the sweltering heat, the pouring rains, the beauty of nature and homely pleasures. I remember the awe with which I watched many stunning sunsets from my parents’ home; my attempts to capture the breathtaking beauty on camera. Don’t you love the way the sky lights up with the orange-yellow glow while the sun disappears down the horizon? It is simply spectacular! It’s been almost a year since my last visit and I’m homesick.
Watching sunset from my parents' home
Snapping out of nostalgia, I was very excited to find clams while passing the fish counter of a local store recently. Clams are much less laborious to clean than mussels that often require a lot of scrubbing and pulling of beards. While shopping for clams or mussels keep in mind that they must be live when cooked as eating dead ones will make you quite sick. Check to make sure that the shells are undamaged and tightly shut, or closed tightly when tapped. Also, while cooking, use untreated pots to steam them as the shells may scratch the non-stick surface.
Besides the challenges with cleaning and shelling, this clam-fry recipe couldn’t be any simpler. It is simple, rustic and delicious.


Clams Fry — Kakka Irachi Varuthathu

Ingredients

2 cup fresh clams, shelled
2 ½ teaspoon kashmiri chili powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 small shallots
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 ½ teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon oil for marinade, plus 3 tablespoon for shallow frying
3 tablespoon lemon juice
salt, to taste
water, as needed
4 sprigs curry leaves
 
Directions

Before preparation, discard any clams that stays open when tapped, plus the ones with broken shells, if any.

Scrub well with a soft brush and rinse the clams thoroughly in several changes of water to remove dirt and grit. Scrape away any beards with a knife. Drain and put in a large heavy based pan and steam, covered, on high heat about 5-6 minutes. Shake the pan a few times, until the shells start gaping open—you will hear popping sounds as the shells start to snap open. Remember not to overcook, as they turn tough and rubbery easily. Get rid of any that don’t open and tip the rest into a colander until cool. Now remove the meat from the shell and pat dry with kitchen tissues; discard shells.

Crush fennel seeds and peppercorns to a fine powder in a coffee grinder; then add shallots and rest of the ingredients except oil and curry leaves. Pulse everything together to make a thick smooth paste adding a splash of water if necessary. Scrape it into a bowl and stir in the oil. Tip in the clams and mix well; marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes.

In a large non-stick frying pan, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add the clams with the curry leaves and stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes or until well done. Add more oil, if needed, and adjust the cooking time to how you prefer them. I like it crispy fried (as in the pictures) and well done. Just remember that the meat dries out quickly—cook them gently to avoid turning them into a rubbery, chewy waste of  fine shellfish. When the edges begin to curl, they’ve had enough heat, take off from heat immediately.

Once done, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve hot with rice.

48 comments:

  1. Awesome clicks... Delish looking dish...

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  2. oh my god my fav kakkairachi...i dnt knw when i had this last..but still the taste is in my tongue...superbbb clicks

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  3. Hello dear...
    U have a really a treat to eyes pictures.. i will definitely let u know when i start my event series-3 ok... and fry looks delicious:)

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  4. hi, though I don't know anything abt shellfish or clams loved ur presentation and awesome sun setting clicks.

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  5. these photographs are breathtaking!!
    im allergic to shellfish and foods like this makes me wish I wasn't! It looks absolutely fantastic.

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  6. looks very tempting. Slurp :)

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  7. I love watching sunsets too... And your pictures of the setting sun were fabulous! The Kakka irachi looks lovely and mouth-watering...

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  8. Breath taking dish,simply irresistible,eventhough i never had or tried anything with clams..

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  9. my all time fav...kandittu kothiyavunnu...

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  10. Never heard about clam before. Thanks for visiual treat dear..

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  11. Awesome recipe and super clicks...

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  12. Fry looks so tempting. Also the pics of the sun setting at the horizon looks so beautiful.

    Deepa
    Hamaree Rasoi

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  13. You're professional photographer, clicks are outstanding! Tempting and yummy....

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  14. Excellent clicks !! this fry is new to me !! looks so delicious !!

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  15. looks wonderfully delicious

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  16. i see loads of kakka erachi recipes online....looks absolutely tasty...my husband would love it

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  17. Oh man, this is so exciting, never had clams before but very positive I wud devour it in minutes.

    I am glad that you already saw my post....cool:)

    I have some awards waiting for you at my blog. Please feel free to collect them. And I will be delighted to see your Honest 7 Facts. Happy Blogging:)

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  18. This look so delicious.Though I am a vegetarian my husband loves fish and I am sure he is gona love this.Thank you dear.

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  19. Lovely clicks .... I don't eat clams but the recipe looks quite inviting !

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  20. Nash, Beautiful clicks !!! Kakka erachi is one of my favorite. I have never made it by myself. Thanks for the recipe.

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  21. Kothiyavunnu..looks awesome dear,real tempting clicks.

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  22. beautiful clicks..looks perfect

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  23. absolutely love it............... pics are awesome... me too feeling nostalgice.... back home, mom makes this atleast once a week.

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  24. Never tried my hands on clams before Nash. But they look yummy.

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  25. Just discovered your blog after you popped by to say hello, thank you! I am so glad I found your site. Incredible pictures. Hard to believe this is a clam dish since it's so intensly rich and dark, full of flavour. I would just LOVE to make this, since we love spices but can imagine the spices that we get here in France are not a patch on the ones you have. Absolutely amazing!

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  26. Wow!!! where in Doha did you find clams??? I have been here for 25years now n never found it once! =( Gosh!!! my mouth is water...i totally love shellfish, the fotos are gorgeous! =)
    Mj@cardamomhills

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  27. I bet that was super yummy...
    Tasty Appetite

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  28. ho yummy and delicious :)

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  29. Many, many thanks for your lovely comments, everyone. You guys are so sweet!

    Rumana, yea, I’d love to hear from you. Thanks!

    Sidiqua, I’m so sorry dear.

    Treat and trick, you are way too kind!

    Malar, again, thanks much for the accolades. Sweetie, I’ve already posted 7 facts about myself, don't ask me to do it again...! :)

    Hi Jill, I'm so thrilled to see you here! Thanks a ton for stopping by and sharing your lovely thoughts! If you love spices, I'm sure you'll love this clams recipe :)

    Heyyy MJ, you live in Doha!?? Interesting! Okay, of late I’ve come across mussels as well as clams at stores like Lulu, FFC, Carrefour, Spinneys. And thanks for popping over, really happy to hear from you!

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  30. Hey Nashi! this looks mindblowing :) totally drool-worthy! and hey, thanks for understanding my venting :D have been trying some new comment platform so I did read ur comments but its not reflecting on the blog right now :( will sort it out soon!

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  31. Wow, I have never seen clams prepared this way. I am so curious to try it!

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  32. Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind words. I am looking forward to following you and learning some of your country's recipes.

    This dish looks delicious:)

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  33. Hello..This is a fav of mine, i never cooked this at home.Your pics makes me want to try right this moment, Truly yummy...

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  34. Although i don't eat clams I can tell the dish is fabulous and your presentation is marvelous as always my dear!

    US Masala

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  35. superb dish dear...I'm seriously drooling over these pics !

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  36. Hi nashi,
    I am very much doing good...These days not much into blogging or rather slow....i have received ur comments...thank You!Just published them ryt now;)..And thanx for checking on me:)...

    BTW, i too love clams...happened to buy some of them sometime back and all i could bite into was sand!!Bought them cleaned though....You preparation sounds inetersting and indeed very good...MAde me drool, seriously!

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  37. This is my hubby's favorite..Looks very tempting..

    Thanks a lot for your lovely words at our space. You have created a beautiful space here. Really loved your mouth-watering clicks! Happy to follow you too :)

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  38. Adipoli kto!!!! njan ivide cheriya type ithu nokki nadakkan thudagiyittu nalu kure ayyi..ho enikku sahikkunilla!!!

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  39. I've never eaten clams before but this surely looks and sounds amazingly delicious...

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  40. First I should say.. semma picture.. Never tried clams at home ... it is so tempting !

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  41. Pics r droooolworthy ....yummy...love it...mouthwatering fry...
    First time here..u hv a wonderful space..visit mine as time permits..Following u dear........
    Sanyukta
    http://creativesanyukta.blogspot.com/

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  42. A plateful of clams is oh so very nice. The photographs of the dish are wonderfully shot and styled. That napkin below the dish is a killer and I love the involvement of a single spoon/fork in all your takes which makes it so special and I see that as a signature note on every high grade food photograph.

    I have never eaten clams but would love to do so !

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  43. What lovely photos. Your clams look and sound wonderful. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  44. Great clicks !!Please visit my blog for some awards.
    Bhalo Khabo

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  45. wow wht a blog u have. my first time here. would love to revisit. i am following u now.
    would love to have u drop by/follow me as well.
    http:food-fanatic.blogspot.com

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  46. Beautiful photographs and never heard of this dish but it looks very tempting!

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  47. Hey Swati, we are kinda in the same boat and I totally understand…;) Hope you sorted out the challenges with the display, good luck!

    Hey Steph, hope you enjoy it if you try it!

    Raina, welcome, glad to see you here!

    Suja, Aipi, Sonali, Sarah, Suman, Mary, Cakewhiz: Thanks much for your delightful notes. As always, I’m so happy to hear from y’all!

    Shabs, glad to know you doing well and hey thanks for the lovely notes!

    Maya/Lakshmi: Thanks for your kind notes! Really happy to see you here :)

    Mehjabeen, Sanyukta, Priyanka: Thanks girls for visiting, following and sharing your thoughts--much appreciated!

    Anoop, thanks so much for autographing my page!!! I’m a great fan of your refreshing, colorful and spectacular photography, and I’m so happy to see your nice comments, made me really smile! :))


    Anu, thank you dear for being so kind and thoughtful-I’ll visit soon!

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  48. WOW..THAT LOOKS SO TEMPTING AND DELICIOUS....THIS IS MY FAV....:)

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A million thank you's for stopping by, taking the time to connect, and coming back to visit again. I genuinely appreciate each of your kind thoughts, lovely words, love and support. Happy, happy to hear from you, and hope to see you again!

♥ Nashi