This is a dish of the ordinary working people. Why do I say so while buying clams in Singapore is not that cheap? Originally, in Vietnam we cook another kind of porridge with big mussels, which are very cheap and are easily collected by farmers in the countryside. These mussels can be caught in the swam or pond and they play as one of the main sources of protein for country people.
But I bet that many urban people are crave for this porridge due to its very distinctive and special flavor. I was remembering the old days, in early cold mornings, my mom went to the early morning market and brought home a bowl of mussels porridge for her children. This was my favorite breakfast and I really enjoyed it while trembling in the cold of Hanoi winter. The porridge is also a wonderful supper for many people who go out late at chill night and their stomachs rumble when the attractive smell of the hot porridge from a modest stall somewhere on the street pavements.
Not having that kind of mussel here where I am living, and I happened to come across these fresh clams, I thought of cooking this porridge to caress my homesickness. The taste was different a bit, however, it was still very familiar to the ones my mom cooked at home or the ones she bought from our home market.
Ingedients (serves 2)
- 300-400g fresh clams
- 1/3 cup rice
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 or 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- salt and ground black pepper, as needed
- Spring onion, chopped
- plentiful of Vietnamese coriander, chopped
- Soak the clams in water for 1 or 2 hours, change the water occasionally so that the clams will dismiss the unrefined things. Brush the shells of the clams thorougly.
- Soad the rice in water for about 1 hour to soften a little, then drain well.
- Put the clams in a large saucepan with water just enough to cover the clams, bring to a boil and cook until all the clams are opened. Drain the clams and keep the boiling water. Set aside.
- Dismiss the shells, rinse the clams and marinate them with fish sauce and a little bit of pepper.
- Heat the oil in the saucepan over medium heat, cook the shallots until fragrant. Add the clams, stir quickly until just cooked. Remove the clams from the saucepan and set aside.
- Place the rice into the to saucepan, stir for about 2 minutes then pour in the water that used to boil the clams earlier. Add salt as needed. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low to simmer until the rice are very softened. Check the water regularly. If the water reduces to much then add a little more water so that the porridge will not be too thick.
- When the rice has become very soft, now we have a thin porridge. Add salt to taste. Transfer a portion of the porridge to the bowls, arrange on top of the porridge with clams, spring onion, Vietnamese coriander and sprinkle with pepper. Mix well before enjoying the porridge.
It tastes best while still hot. You may use mussels instead of clams to make a similar porridge.