Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 24, 2022

© Sam Horine

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Spicy clam soup (Jogaetang)

A classic kimchi recipe plus spicy specialties for an Asian feast

It’s late. You need something to make you feel right again, but you don’t want that volleyball-in-your-gut feeling the next morning. For many Koreans, the answer is jogaetang — a light, satisfying clam soup that is often served at pojangmachas (a tented street wagon) on a portable butane burner and paired with beer and soju.

In a good pot of jogaetang, the clear broth evokes the essence of the sea, so it’s a little briny, but not in an overpowering way. Heat from the jalapeños can be adjusted to your liking, but it shouldn’t overpower the dish either. The name of the game is balance and resetting the palate for the next round of drinks and snacks.

2 lbs. (1 kg) littleneck clams, scrubbed
3 c. (750 ml) water
1 4 × 4-inch (10 x 10-cm) square of kombu
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 jalapeño pepper, sliced, with seeds
1 Korean or Anaheim chili pepper, sliced
sea salt, to taste
1 scallion, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces, for garnish (optional)

Soak clams in cold water for 1 hour. This will rid them of sand and sediment. Lift the clams from the water, leaving the grit behind.

In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups (750 ml) of water and the kombu to a boil over high heat. Boil for 3 minutes and remove the kombu.

Add clams, garlic, jalapeño and Korean chili pepper, and boil for 4 minutes, or until the clam shells open. If there are stubborn closed clams, remove the opened clams to a bowl and continue to cook the unopened clams for a few more minutes. If they still don’t open, discard them. Add salt to taste. Divide the soup in bowls with the clams, garnish with scallions and serve immediately. Serves 4.

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