I grew up with tahong (mussels) and so it will always be my favorite. But clams are a close contender, especially the so-called nylon clams - the ones with a bright yellow edge in the meat and a lighter shade for the shells... but generally speaking I like all kinds of shells... even those I have no idea about!
went on a quick trip to the market to buy some flat fish for fish
nuggets that I planned to have for dinner. While looking at
the choices for fish fillets, I saw these humungous shells (well not
really that big but definitely bigger than the usual halaan/clams) which the
vendor told me were called tuway shells. Of course I asked if they were
just bigger halaan and he replies that they are not. For one thing, it
has a milder, sweeter taste. The other thing? The clam meat aren't
really big despite the size of the shells!
And he was right! When the clams opened I was quite disappointed in the size of the meat! But I totally loved the soup!
clam meat was a tad rubbery compared to the halaan shells I'm used to,
but the flavor is milder and sweeter (I really like it when a vendor
knows his stuff!). I used my "regular" recipe for halaan soup.
The usual way that halaan soup is prepared is tinola style. That's not the way I like my clam soup (although tinola is the way I like tahong/mussels soup). I like my halaan soup WITHOUT dahon ng sili (chili leaves), and my secret ingredient is... Baguio pechay (Chinese wombok
1 kilo live clams (basically any kind of clams or shells)
1 thumb ginger, smashed and sliced
2 medium sized tomatoes, sliced
2 red onions, sliced
about 8 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 pieces finger chili pepper
2 to 4 cups of water (or "rice washing water")
a handful of Baguio pechay (wombok) leaves, sliced
Rinse the clams thoroughly and soak in water for about 1 hour. Drain and rise again.
Saute the ginger, onion, tomato, garlic and chili pepper until fragrant. Toss in the clams and add 2 cups water immediately. (Personally I like mine soupy, so I add more water until all the clams are just covered with water.)
Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook until the clam shells are open. Discard any that remain closed. Toss in the pechay leaves. Serve while hot.
To make halaan soup, tinola style, simply substitute the pechay leaves with dahon ng sili (chili leaves).