What’s better than a bowl of seafood soup in a summer day? Vietnamese Clam Soup – Canh ngheu thi la – is a traditional soup originated from the North of Vietnam made of native ingredients including dill, tomato, and especially white hard clams.

Vietnamese Clam Soup

Vietnamese White Hard Clams (Meretrix Lyrata)

Meretrix lyrata, or white hard clams, are a type of clam found in various coastal areas of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam. They are typically found in shallow waters with sandy or muddy bottoms. These clams are often harvested and cultivated in aquaculture farms. In Vietnam, some regions in the West of the country are famous for cultivating this species such as Go Cong (Tien Giang) or Ben Tre.

steamed clams with lemongrass
Vietnamese White Hard Clams

Not only a tasty seafood, but white hard clams are also nutritious. Meretrix lyrata clams are a good source of protein and are low in fat. They also contain essential minerals like calcium, iron, and phosphorus. Their nutritional content may vary depending on factors like location and diet. Here’s the nutrition fact in 100g of clam:

  • Energy: 192 kJ/46 kcal
  • Proteins: 22 gr
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Sugars: 0 g Fat: 2 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Salt: 0,1 g

If you are living in Southeast Asia, you can easily find fresh clam. However, to export to Europe or North America, usually the clams are cooked, vacuum-packed and frozen to ensure the safety while transporting. The frozen clams are still tender and fleshy, but you should reheat quickly by dropping them into boiling water in 2-3 minutes. Otherwise, the fresh will be overcooked, become smaller in size and tougher.

How to Select White Hard Clams?

If you have a chance to buy white hard clams freshly, there are some tips to select them:

  • Freshness: Fresh clams should have shells that are tightly closed or that close when tapped. Avoid clams with open or damaged shells.
  • Appearance: The shells of them are typically elongated and oblong, with a distinctive shape.
  • Smell: Fresh clams should have a clean, ocean-like smell. Avoid clams with a foul or strong odor.

If you buy a package of frozen clams from a supermarket, it’s important to check the packaging date and expiration date. Look for newly packed clams and try to consume them as soon as possible to enjoy the best quality and nutrition.

Ingredients of Vietnamese Clam Soup

Vietnamese Clam Soup

To make Vietnamese Clam Soup for 4 people, I used:

  • 1kg white hard clams
  • 800ml (4 cups) water
  • 50g (1.7oz) dill
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 tsp lemon/lime juice
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 4-5 slices of ginger
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • A pinch of salt

Beside main ingredients, shallot and ginger are a must. We’ll make use of their aroma to reduce the fishy smell of clams. Dill also contributes to make the soup more aromatic.

How to make Vietnamese Clam Soup

You can easily make Vietnamese Clam Soup in around 15-20 minutes. However, if you use fresh clams instead of frozen cooked clams, it will take you around 1-2 hours to soak clams in water and chili to release sands inside of the clams. With frozen clams, simply take them directly from fridge and cook.

Vietnamese Clam Soup

Step 1. Preparation

  • Cut tomatoes into pieces. For ginger, slice it thinly and cut into strip. Chop shallot and cut the dill into short pieces about 2 inches long.
  • If you cook Vietnamese Clam Soup with fresh hard clams, soak clams in water with 2-3 chopped chilies to let them release the sands inside. You should soak it in at least 1-2 hours.

Step 2. Boiling Clams

  • Similar to making Steamed Clams with Lemongrass, boil water and drop clams into the pot once boiling. With fresh clams, you should boil in around 5-10 minutes; with frozen, cooked clams, just boil in 3-4 minutes. The best sign to stop boiling clams is when all of them open up.
  • When clams are well cooked, immediately remove them from heat and filter the clam juice with a strainer. Set them aside, separately.

Step 3. Cooking Vietnamese Clam Soup

  • In a pot (you can use the same pot you have used to boil clams), add 1 tbsp of cooking oil and heat it up. Add chopped shallot and ginger in and fry until they release the aroma. Next, add tomatoes in, continue to stir-fry until softened. Then pour clam juice you got from step 2 into the pot and cook on high heat.
  • When the soup boils, it’s time to add dills and return clams into the pot. Immediately turn off the heat and adjust the taste with a pinch of salt.
  • Finally, squeeze a small piece of lime/lemon into the soup.

Serving and Storing

With every type of soup made of seafoods, it’s better to serve it when it’s still hot. The reason is when clam/fish soup cools down, you can easily detect a fishy smell from it. Enjoy them hot with rice.

It’s alright to store Vietnamese Clam Soup in fridge within a day, but always reheat it on stove or by microwave before serving. It’s recommended to eat it immediately after cooking with the highest freshness and nutrition.

Vietnamese Clam Soup

Vietnamese Clam Soup

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Vietnamese Clam Soup is a traditional soup originated from the North of Vietnam made of dill, tomato, and white hard clams.

Ingredients

  • 1kg white hard clams
  • 800ml (4 cups) water
  • 50g (1.7oz) dill
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 tsp lemon/lime juice
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 4-5 slices of ginger
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • A pinch of salt

Instructions

You can easily make Vietnamese Clam Soup in around 15-20 minutes. However, if you use fresh clams instead of frozen cooked clams, it will take you around 1-2 hours to soak clams in water and chili to release sands inside of the clams. With frozen clams, simply take them directly from fridge and cook.

Step 1. Preparation

  • Cut tomatoes into pieces. For ginger, slice it thinly and cut into strip. Chop shallot and cut the dill into short pieces about 2 inches long.Vietnamese Clam Soup
  • If you cook Vietnamese Clam Soup with fresh hard clams, soak clams in water with 2-3 chopped chilies to let them release the sands inside. You should soak it in at least 1-2 hours.steamed clams with lemongrass

Step 2. Boiling Clams

  • Similar to making Steamed Clams with Lemongrass, boil water and drop clams into the pot once boiling. With fresh clams, you should boil in around 5-10 minutes; with frozen, cooked clams, just boil in 3-4 minutes. The best sign to stop boiling clams is when all of them open up.Vietnamese Clam Soup
  • When clams are well cooked, immediately remove them from heat and filter the clam juice with a strainer. Set them aside, separately.Vietnamese Clam Soup

Step 3. Cooking Vietnamese Clam Soup

  • In a pot (you can use the same pot you have used to boil clams), add 1 tbsp of cooking oil and heat it up. Add chopped shallot and ginger in and fry until they release the aroma. Next, add tomatoes in, continue to stir-fry until softened. Then pour clam juice you got from step 2 into the pot and cook on high heat.Vietnamese Clam Soup
  • When the soup boils, it’s time to add dills and return clams into the pot. Immediately turn off the heat and adjust the taste with a pinch of salt.[mv_img id="5462"]
  • Finally, squeeze a small piece of lime/lemon into the soup.Vietnamese Clam SoupVietnamese Clam Soup

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 250ml
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215

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