Small, Black Hard-Shelled Clam Fritters
Makes 17-20 fritters
These are so unusual you have to try this recipe at least once. Ideal bar food. It’s New Orleans meets India. I serve these wadé as finger food without a sauce, just a squeeze of lime to highlight the flavour of the clams. Around 2½-3 kg of small clams will give you about 1 packed cup of clam meat.
Use a non stick frying pan as these fritters are delicate and should not stick to the bottom of the pan.
1 cup freshly shelled and washed, raw clams or tisri
1 tsp rice flour
1½ tbsp very finely chopped red or white onions
½ tsp salt or to taste
¼ cup fine semolina or rava/sooji
Vegetable oil for frying
½ cup finely grated fresh; or frozen, defrosted, unsweetened coconut
2 tsp Karwari sambhar powder or methkoot or use a commercial sambhar powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper powder or red chilli powder
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp tamarind paste
Squeeze out all the liquid from the clams. Squeeze them several times. The liquid can be added to a fish curry or a seafood stock. Cover and reserve drained clams in a sieve.
Grind the spice paste ingredients to a coarse consistency without any water or oil in a food processor.
Stir in the clams with the rice flour and pulse just once to incorporate the clams and spices. Do not grind to a paste. The clams must not be whole but they must not be blitzed to a mush either.
Remove and transfer to a bowl.
Mix in the onions and salt to form a loose dough.
Put the semolina on a plate.
Make small balls, about ¾” wide of the clam mix between your palms and pat each ball in the semolina. Flatten slightly between your palms, till the dough keeps its shape and holds together. Arrange on a plate.
Pour 1” of oil into a non-stick frying pan and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, fry the clam fritters till golden and crisp on all sides.
Drain on paper towels and serve warm with a crisp, dry, white wine, beer or limbo pani.