Monday, April 22, 2019

Coconut Clam Chowder

This chowder is inspired by Chef Raj, co-owner of the Tulsi Indian Restaurant in Kittery and Tulsi North Indian Restaurant in Wells, Maine. My husband and I met him one evening at the Kittery location. When he speaks about cooking and eating you can imagine that he will serve you only high quality and flavorful foods--the kind that will certainly wake your senses! He hailed from a coastal region near Mumbai, India and eventually made his way to a small coastal town in Maine. In his former home village, some people would roast a coconut to make a seafood soup. I don't have access to whole coconuts and roasting would take some extra time which I lack. For simplicity my soup is made from canned coconut milk and already ground spices...perhaps not the best ingredients but they will have to do for now!

The crabs came from Dr. Bradt who purchased them from Maine fisherman, Everett Leach. The clams came from my local market. You may shuck the clams while they are fresh. However, I find that steaming them for just 5 minutes makes for a convenient and easy job to remove the clam meat and save the broth. I purposely saved the washed cilantro stems and roots in the freezer for these types of soups or stews.

Thank you Chef Raj, Dr. Bradt and Everett for this simple but tasty chowder!

If you are in Kittery or Wells, Maine and are hungry for some delicious Indian food you may want to check out these restaurants!

coconut clam chowder
Coconut Clam Chowder


About 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp neutral oil (such as vegetable)
1/3 C chopped white or yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled, grated or minced
1 large potato, peeled, diced
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Madras curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
4 1/2 C Green Crab Stock For Chowders (see recipe below)
3 1/2 C Clam Stock (see recipe below)
1 can (13.6 oz or 403 mL) unsweetened coconut milk
About 2 Tbsp dried seaweed, cut and rinsed
1 1/2 C (or 7 1/8 oz) chopped steamer clams
2 Tbsp chopped fresh scallions
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp chicken stock powder


Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and saute until the onion is soft. Add garlic,  potato, cumin, coriander, turmeric, curry and cayenne powder. Saute about 3-4 minutes to blend the spices and to help soften the potato. Add green crab stock and clam stock. Cook about 10-15 minutes or until the potato pieces are soft. Shake the coconut milk to blend and pour it through a strainer into the pot (to prevent any lumps). Add seaweed. Turn heat to high and once the liquid starts to boil turn the heat down to medium and let it boil for about a minute. Turn heat down to a simmer and add clams, scallions, cilantro and season with fish sauce and chicken stock powder. Turn heat to low once the clams are thoroughly heated. Serve hot with crusty bread. May add extra cayenne or freshly ground white pepper if interested.

Helpful Hints:

*You may omit the cayenne powder if you prefer non-spicy.
*It is best to buy small quantity of ground spices as they do not have a long shelf life.
*2 1/2 pounds of steamer clams yield about 7 1/8 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) of clam meat.

green crab stock for chowder
Green Crab Stock For Chowders (makes about 4 1/2 cups)


15 prepared green crabs
6 C water
3 young kelps (dried or fresh)
About 10 cilantro stems and 2 cilantro roots
1 small yellow or white onion, peeled, quartered or diced
3-4 slices of ginger, bruised
2 garlic cloves, smashed


Prepare each crab by removing and discarding the carapace, apron, and gills. Scrub the crabs in a little salt and rinse in cold water, let them drain. Crush the crabs (the finer the crabs are crushed the more flavors the result). Place the crab in a pot and add water, kelp, cilantro stems, cilantro roots, onion, ginger and garlic. Turn the heat to high. Once the liquid starts to boil turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Strain and save the liquid for cooking.

steamer clams
Clam Stock (makes about 3 1/2 cups)


About 2 1/2 lbs fresh steamer clams
2 C water


Soak the clams while you scrub them. Rinse them in cold water and drain. Remove and discard any broken or dead clams. The dead ones will have an unpleasant smell. Cover the pot and steam the clams in 2 cups of water for about 5 minutes or when the clams just open up. Turn off heat and remove the lid. Once the clams are cooled remove and discard the skin on the neck and the siphon tips. Rinse the clams in its stock. Strain and save the clean liquid. Chop the meat and reserve.

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