I adore clams. There is this delicate sweetness laced in the flavours that makes it one of the most popular shellfish to consume. I grew up enjoying clams often and I definitely have been missing it sorely in the UK! You do find jars of cockles relatively easy in the UK but fresh shell-on clams definitely haven’t been the most common. They aren’t the cheapest either but with how much I’m craving for seafood, I just grabbed it when I saw it at my local market and I whipped up this scrumptious Miso Garlic Clam Noodle Soup that just hits the spot oh-so-frigging-well!
The magic happens when the natural sweetness of the clams get to pair with a touch of white miso. It creates this mellow yet delicate umami that just gives all the tingles to the palate. Plus, it’s an absolutely luscious hug in a bowl too for a gloomy day here in London! If you can’t tell, I’m pretty obsessed with how good this miso garlic clam noodle soup turned out.
How to make Garlic Clam Miso Noodle Soup
- Fresh Shell-on Clams – see further notes below for how to wash/handle fresh clams.
- Butter, Garlic, Shallots – the aromatics for the soup base.
- Chilli Flakes – just to give a very subtle kick.
- White Miso Paste – to add a mellow savoury umami without being too overpowering. See further notes below.
- Chicken Broth, Fish Stock – to make the soup base. See further notes below.
- Noodles – rice noodles / ramen noodles. Cooked or soaked in boiling water for 5-15 minutes till softened.
- Scallions – the finishing touch and garnish.
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Always leave breathing holes when you’re carrying & storing the fresh clams. Do not store them airtight or plastic sealed. You’d want to keep them alive and they should be consumed within the same day. Dead clams are not safe to consume.
Rinse and soak the clams in water for 20-30 minutes. The clams would then ‘spit out’ any sand and grit. Lift the clams from the water used for soaking and place them into a separate bowl for another rinse/scrub before cooking (to avoid any of the sand going back into the clams).
The shell will open up when the clams are cooked. If the shells remain screwed shut, it means the clam has gone off / was dead before cooking and you should discard them!
In terms of cooking, it’s super simple. Start with sauteing the aromatics and then add in miso paste for a little umami boost. White miso paste is milder and more mellow in flavour compared to brown miso. Whilst you could technically use either type of miso interchangeably, brown miso might be a bit overpowering to the clams for this recipe. The flavours are quite delicate and you’d definitely want the clam flavours to stand out in the dish. Therefore, I’d recommend sticking with white miso here for the best results.
I used both chicken broth and fish stock for this recipe. For me, a dash of fish stock adds a subtle hint of fish essence into the soup, which is quite a seafood lovers’ dream. If you’re not used to or not a particular seafood fan, you can stick with just chicken broth by substituting the fish stock part with the equivalent volume of it.
Clams cook pretty quickly so keep an eye and do not overcook them. The clams tend to get slightly rubbery in texture if overcooked. Just a few minutes in a simmering broth is sufficient. As mentioned above, the clams are cooked once they fully open up their shells.
Garlic Clam Miso Noodle Soup
- 4 cloves Garlic minced
- 2 Shallots finely sliced
- 2 tbsp White Miso Paste
- 400-500 g Fresh Clams
- 1 cup Chicken Broth
- ½ cup Fish Stock optional, can be replaced with equivalent volume of chicken broth
- 2 bundles Rice Noodles / Ramen
- 1 tbsp Butter
- ½-1 tsp Red Chilli Flakes
- 2-3 stalks Scallions
- Red Chillies (optional) chopped, for garnish
- Wash the clams by rinsing and letting them soak in water for 30 minutes. This is to allow the clams to spit out any sand or grit. Lift the clams from the water used for soaking and place them into a separate bowl for another rinse before cooking.
- In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Saute garlic and chilli flakes for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.4 cloves Garlic, 1 tbsp Butter, ½-1 tsp Red Chilli Flakes
- Add in chopped shallots and cook for 3-5 minutes until starting to soften.2 Shallots
- Stir in white miso paste and toss in the clams.2 tbsp White Miso Paste, 400-500 g Fresh Clams
- Add in both chicken broth and fish broth. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes until the clams have opened up.1 cup Chicken Broth, ½ cup Fish Stock
- Remove from heat and toss in scallions. Ladle the clam soup over the cooked noodles and garnish with more scallions and red chillies (if using). Serve immediately.2 bundles Rice Noodles / Ramen, 2-3 stalks Scallions, Red Chillies (optional)
- Do not consume and discard any clams that remained screwed shut after cooking.
- White miso paste is more suitable than brown miso for this recipe. White miso paste is more mellow in flavour, which pairs well with the delicate sweetness of the clams without overpowering them.
- A dash of fish stock adds a hint of fish essence to the soup and gives extra umami. However, if you’re not used to or not a particular keen seafood fan, you can stick with just chicken broth. Simply substitute the fish stock with the equivalent volume of chicken broth.
- Clams cook fairly quickly and may turn slightly rubbery when overcooked. They are cooked once they fully open up their shells.
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