Back to my favorite cuisine, Vietnamese food, we are having a very unique and original dish for dinner tonight "Ngeu kho to" (clams in clay pot). I'm certain that if you are Vietnamese you would be no stranger to the usual "Thit kho to" or "Ca kho to", but "Ngeu kho to" would probably sound very surprising and strange to everyone. But let me tell you this, the hubby of mine who doesn't really care much about the Vietnamese clay pot dishes, keeps on requesting me to cook it again and again after the first time tasting it. The cooking process is very similar to its cousin dish "thit kho to", only the meat will be substituted by the baby clams. One bite and trust me you will be hooked to this mouth-watering dish just like my husband.
Thanks to my dear friend Eatlover for her ingenious idea to this great recipe, we have this wonderful dish to enjoy for dinner. If you have time, visit her blog and you can find a numerous numbers of amazing pictures and recipes. She is the one that gives me the admiration and inspiration for the birth of this blog. Thanks El for all your support and friendship. This dish is for you!
1. Fresh or frozen baby clams meat (as mush as you want)
2. 1/2 lbs of port belly (thinly sliced into 1 inch pieces)
3. 4-5 cloves of garlic and 4 shallots (mince finely)
4. Fish sauce, sugar, bot nem (Vietnamese seasoning), salt, garlic powder, black pepper, cooking oil
5. Green onion (chopped), thai red chili pepper
Marinate the clam meats and 1/2 of the pork belly in separate bowls, each with 1 tsp fish sauce, 1 tsp sugar, garlic powder, bot nem, black pepper and set aside for 15-30 min.
Season the other half of pork belly with 1/4 tsp of salt, garlic powder and render its fat out in a small pot until crispy. This called "top mo" or crispy porks. Remove the crispy porks and reserve the fat.
In the same pot with the rendered fat, bring back on the stove, add in the minced garlic and shallots, stir until they turn golden brown and turn the heat off.
Let it cook down until nearly all the liquid has evaporated and the mixture resemble a molasses color. Mix 2-3 tsp of sugar with 1-2 tsp of fish sauce and pour over the clam mixture, let it cook for another minute and adjust the seasoning to taste. Remove from heat, top it off with the crispy porks, sprinkle some green onions, red chili pepper and cracked pepper on top. Serve hot with steamed jasmine rice and I promise you won't be able to stop at one bowl of rice:)! Enjoy the good eat!