Insider's Kitchen

No.183 (3/11/11)

Common Orient Clam, Hamaguri (はまぐり)

By Nao H. Kauffman
Chief Editor

In the previous edition, I introduced the Hina doll festival on March 3rd. The soup of Hamaguri would be a perfect dish to cook up. The clams are very seasonal at this time of year. Hamaguri is a little larger than regular clams and should only be consumed cooked. They are great for soup, clam chowder, steamed, or grilled on sticks.

Since the paired shells would not match with others, little girls used to play with them like a memory game. Thus, Hamaguri has been considered a festive item and used for instance in bridal banquets in order to seek a perfect match with someone. Here is a simple recipe for a traditional Japanese clear soup of Hamaguri.

One pack of Hamaguri Clams
Dried Konbu Seaweed
One tablespoon Sake
Two tablespoon Shiradashi(白だし)

*Quick cooking broth
4 cups of water
A pinch of salt or a teaspoon of soy sauce
Green onions or Mitsuba for topping

A night prior to cooking, soak the clams in salt water in order to remove sand.
Wash the shells thoroughly before cooking.
After wiping the dried seaweed with a damp paper towel or cloth, boil the water along with the dried seaweed in a pot. Remove the seaweed before it over boils.
Pour the clams into the pot and cook for about 3 minutes and clear the soup by scooping out the white parts.
Add the tablespoon of sake and Shiradashi. Do not over boil and you will watch slowly that the shells will begin to open up.
Adjust the fl avor with soy sauce and salt. Then, add the green onions or Mitsuba.
Enjoy your soup!

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