Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Seafood Curry Chowder (makes approximately 5 quarts)

my seafood curry chowder
It is the beginning of Autumn and it is getting cooler here in the East Coast. I have decided to make a chowder using all the seafood I have available including some of the remaining fresh herbs and onions from my garden.  I will be working long hours for the next few days and this chowder will last a few meals! You can serve it with toasted baguette or rice noodles.  The chowder may appear heavy but it is actually light and will keep your tummy full and satisfy!

lemongrass, onions, basil leaves,
chives, bay leaves, and dill
My Seafood Curry Chowder (makes approximately 5 quarts)


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 lemongrass stalk, minced soft part and reserved the tough stalk
3 dried bay leaves
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 oz dried oyster mushrooms, hydrated and sliced thinly
10 dried shiitake mushrooms, hydrated and sliced thinly
One (6.5 oz) can of minced clams in clam liquid
1 pint (473 mL)  half & half
400 mL unsweetened coconut milk
400 mL water
3 Tbsp chopped Chinese chives
2 Tbsp chopped scallions (or green onion)
1/2 C Thai basil leaves
1 tsp chopped dill
2 lbs mahogany clams, scrubbed and washed
10 oz cooked lobster meat, cut into bite size
10 oz Maine crab meat, shells and cartilages removed
10 oz squid, body and tentacles (please see How to Clean Squid post)
10 oz cooked whelks (shells removed)
6 oz cooked periwinkles (shells removed)
10 large sea scallops, muscles removed and reserved
1/4 C dried wakame (sea vegetable), washed in cold water
1 C dried dulse (sea vegetable)
2 tsp lobster base (Better Than Bouillon)
2 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
Chili powder or hot chili pepper (optional)


1) Heat the oil in a large pot (at least 5.5 quarts) over medium high heat.
2) Add onion, garlic, lemongrass (minced and stalk), bay leaves, coriander powder and curry powder and stir for 1 minute or until onion is translucent.
3) Add mushrooms and cook for 1 minute.
4) Add the whole can of clam, mahogany clams, half & half, coconut milk, and water, cook until boiling then turn heat down to medium and cook for 25 minutes.
5) Add chives, scallions, basil leaves, dill, lobster meat, crab, squid, periwinkles, whelks, scallops, wakame, lobster base, and fish sauce, cook for 15 minutes.
6) Turn off heat and add black pepper and dulse.
7) Add chili powder or hot chili pepper when ready to eat.

New England is known
for its beautiful, brilliant fall colors
(NH, 2010)
red, orange, and gold leaves
(NH, 2010)
imagine biking, jogging,
or walking through this place
and listening to the sound of the leaves
(NH, 2010) 
*This chowder is versatile, you can use any type of shellfish or any firm fish that you prefer. 
*If you use scallops make sure they are fresh and dry (dry means they are not treated with phosphates which is a preservative).  When I buy scallops I always ask for whole scallops.  For this type of chowder I removed the muscles and then minced them.  I then put the minced muscles back into the stew instead of discarding them.  The muscles are tough and most people discard them.
*The mahogany clams can take a long time to open up so you may need to cook them longer than most clams.  If the mahogany clams are too tough for you then you can chopped the meat up.  You can substitute using mussels since the meat is not so tough.
*I harvested my own periwinkles and caught the squid on the coast of NH.  I have seen periwinkles sold in Asian markets in Boston Chinatown but they are usually muddy.  I prefer to harvest them on rocks at low tide in clean water.
*The cooked Maine lobster, crab meat and whelks came from my mother.  Yes, she is one great mom!  The whelks are larger snails, the shell is about 3-inches in length. 
*I removed the outer one or two layers of the lemongrass stalk and minced the end of the stalk (softer and lighter part).  I then used the flat part of my knife, bruised what was left of the stalk, tied the stalk and outer layers in one loop and put them in the pot to cook for extra flavor (please see photo above).
*If you prefer to spice this dish up you may add chili powder or chili pepper in the pot or to individual bowls.  
*If you are still eating the chowder over the next few days then you can thin it out with some milk.  Each time I scoop some into a small pot to reheat I add about 1/2 C of milk to thin out the chowder.

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