Paste for 4 servings
1 dried New Mexico chili, soaked, seeded and deveined
1 tablespoon thinly sliced lemongrass
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 large shallot, coarsely chopped
5 fresh Kaffir lime leaves, deveined and shredded
1 teaspoon peeled, coarsely chopped galangal
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro stems
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 chili pepper
1/2 cup water
1 dozen medium littleneck clams in the shell
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/4 cup peanuts, roasted and coarsely ground
Cilantro springs for garnish
To make the paste, blend all the ingredients in a blender for 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth.
Scrub and shuck the clams. Lay out half the shells on broiler pan and place one clam in each shell.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the paste, coconut milk, sugar, salt and fish sauce. Cook about 8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of ketchup. Spoon the sauce over the clams and sprinkle with the ground peanuts.
Preheat the grill or broiler. Position a rack about 6 inched from the heat. grill or broil the clams for 4 to 6 minutes or until heated thoroughly but still tender. top with sprigs of cilantro and serve immediately.
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