I sometimes have an imagination that runs wild. So when I realized that I would be dealing with live clams (you have to throw away the dead clams) to make Clear Clam Soup, or Jogaetang, I was a little frightened at the prospect.
I reached into my bag of clams and closed my eyes, hoping not to get bitten. Very silly, I know but part of me was scared that would happen.
I guess that’s the point though, trying different ingredients and not being scared.
And I probably should have been doubly scared since as a rule, you’re not supposed to eat clams in months with no Rs (it’s July) but I braved it and nothing happened. I used farmed clams so they are supposed to monitor that fairly well. Just don’t use fresh clams from May – August!
Jogaetang is a simple light, clam soup. You can eat it just as is, or pour it over some noodles or rice to make a hearty meal.
Adapted from The Beauty of Korean Food: with 100 Best-Loved Recipes by the Institute of Traditional Korean Food.
Total Time: 3 1/2 hours
1) About a pound and a half of live clams (about 10)
2) 1 bunch of green onions
3) 1 garlic clove
4) Cayennne pepper to taste
Preparation and Cooking
1) Soak the clams in salt water for at least 3 hours (you can leave them on the counter) or overnight (in the refrigerator) to allow for them to spit out their sediment. You really need to do this or you’ll have sand in your soup.
About 5-10 minutes before the clams are ready, prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2) Cut the green onions into thirds.
3) Add about 6 cups of water to a dutch oven or other large pot.
4) Mince the garlic or use a garlic press (like I do) and place it in the water.
5) Add the clams to the pot.
6) Turn the range on high and allow the water to boil. When the clams open up, they’re done. If any of the clams stay shut, throw them out!
7) Turn off the heat, add the green onions.
8) Add cayenne pepper to taste (or don’t if you’re not into hot stuff).
8) Serve immediately in bowls.
To make this a meal a hearty one…
9) Add the noodles or rice to the bowl first, then pour the Jogaetang over the noodles/rice.
10) Add kimchee (optional).