Spicy Mangalorean Clams

This was one of my favourite dishes as a child back in Mangalore.  Every time we visited our grandparents in Kundapoor, we would contrive and look forward to going to the river to pick clams (shellfish) and have a rip roaring time doing so.  Once, we slipped away in the rain and used our umbrellas to collect the shellfish and were so engrossed in our endeavours that we failed to notice the tide had crept in and there we were stranded in the middle of the river.  The boatmen came to our rescue and I still remember the whacking we got.  Nothing could dim our enjoyment of this delicious dish and I urge you to try it too.


The Recipe:

100 shellfish (Molee in Kannada)- wash in running water till all the sand is removed.  Previously we used a foot knife (mettu kathi in Kannada) on which we sat and expertly cut the cockles in half, discarding the empty shells.  Nowadays, I just boil them whole in 1/4 cup water for one minute and wait for them to open, retaining the half with the shellfish.

For Masala: 10 red chillies or to taste; 1/4 tsp mustard seeds; 1 dsp corriander seeds; 1 pinch jeera seeds (cumin); 1/2 tsp khus- khus (poppy seeds); 6 pepper corns; 3 cloves garlic; 1 onion; 1/4 tsp turmeric powder; 3 tbsp grated coconut (fresh or dry- use whatever’s available).   Roast the dry ingredients in a pan  on medium heat till crisp; cool and grind with 1/8 cup water to form a thick paste.

For Seasoning:  1 medium onion, sliced fine; 2 sprigs curry leaves; oil for seasoning.  Heat oil and throw in the curry leaves.  Fry for a minute or two.  Add the onions and fry on medium heat till golden brown.  Keep aside until required.

Add masala to boiled shellfish and simmer three minutes.  Stir in the seasoning and remove from fire.  Serve hot with white rice and dhall.  This is one of the most delicious meals one can ever have.

NB:  Instead of cockles  crabs or prawns and potatoes could be used.  Equally delicious.

There’s nothing like traditional food to tickle the palate.

Learn how to cook a traditional Indian meal using recipes that have been inherited from my great-grandmother.

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