Sunday, February 26, 2012

Shellfish a la Ms. T

Around Christmas time, I went back to visit friends and family in Pittsburgh.  And no visit to the Burgh is complete without a visit with Ms. T.  I got to see her new place, and experience her wonderful cooking.  She made mussels and asparagus in a Tom Kha Gai inspired broth.

I've had the Tom Yum paste in my fridge for months, waiting for mussels and veggies but only tonight have I gotten around to making my own version of Tess's amazing dish.  Prepwork takes a bit of time (cleaning the Mussels can be laborious as they can be covered in barnacles and beards. I was also informed, to my horror, that they were alive upon purchase.  Northwest seafood is fresh.)  However, once the sauce gets going, it takes only 5 minutes for this dish to cook.

Here's what to do:

Stuff (Makes 2-3 Servings):
Thom Yum Paste
Coconut milk (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 lb. Clams (look up basic instructions on cleaning and cooking clams and mussels if you need to!)
1/2 lb. Mussels
1/2 lb. Baby Bok Choi

Rice stick noodles, cooked up.  They only take a few minutes, your package should have instructions.

Saute the garlic in some oil at the bottom of a big pot.  Add the thom yum paste just as it gets going and then pour on the coconut milk (mine was powdered so I wanted to add it right away because it was lumpy.)  Bring this to a boil and add both the clams and mussels.  Set your timer for 5 minutes and cover.  

When your timer has about 1:30 left to go, add the cleaned and chopped Bok Choi and cover.  Stir it a few times, but it only takes a few seconds for it to cook.  Overcooking it makes it a little...slimy so resist the urge to add it at the same time as the shellfish.

At 5:00 your mussels and clams should have opened.  Throw away any that haven't.  That's all it takes.

Serve the rice noodles topped with your tasty shellfish stew!

*Note:  You could probably use more lemongrass, but mine fell out of my cart at the store so I didn't have any.  The thom yum paste should have some already so it's fine if you don't want to use it.



  1. Yay!You finally made it. The mussels I got here at WFM tend to be pretty clean (i.e. no unruly beards), so cleaning is pretty easy for me. Mostly just checking if any is dead.

    As far as cooking, I found out why clam is called clam the other day. It takes longer than mussels to cook. So, I guess that's why they are typically found in soup (chowder). The other day, I made some seafood stew with clams in it, and this one clam just didn't open, so I took it out and boiled it separately just to make sure. And surely, it opened after a while. It was such a clam.

    Oh, that bok choy in the dish looks good. I should try that sometimes.

  2. The cooking time for clams is a good point...maybe it depends on the size of the clams? Mine were very small and when I read instructions on cooking them online it said 5 minutes for both mussels and clams. Larger ones would surely take longer.

    This was the recipe I used for cook time: