I have not been a fan of Clams (Kakka Irachi) and Mussels. I remember my Mom making Kakka Irachi during my school days and I couldn’t stand the sight of it. However, my Dad & brother would happily indulge as if it were the tastiest dish on earth. After getting married, I don’t remember hubby mentioning Clams in our house and so I never bothered to try it out. However during our visit to Kerala, hubby’s mom took the pains of making Kakka Irachi Ularthiyathu (Stir Fried Clam Meat). The sight of it brought back old memories and I didn’t want to taste it but hubby raved about it. So, I gave it a try reluctantly. Well, I was surprised. It wasn’t bad. Hmmm, not bad after all!
I mean it isn’t going to be my favorite food but sure I could make it once in a while. Give me shrimp and I could eat it any day. Wait, I like the Stuffed Clams which we get at Seafood Restaurants but maybe because it tastes entirely different from the Kerala Style Kakka Irachi.
And so here is the recipe for another delicacy from Kerala – Kakka Erachi Ularthiyathu. This is very similar to Kakka Irachi Thoran since this recipe uses lots of coconut. Kakka Irachi tastes best when it is stir-fried in oil until it becomes brown and slightly crispy just like Beef Ularthiyathu. Don’t skimp on the black pepper powder because it makes this dish special. I don’t know if it’s true but many people have told me that Kakka Irachi is high in Calcium and so I should be eating it!
- Kakka Irachi (Meat of Clams/Mussels) – 1 lb or 1/2 kg (Removed from Shells)
- Sliced Shallots – 1.5 cups
- Crushed Garlic – 4 big cloves
- Crushed Ginger – 1″ inch
- Curry Leaves – 2 sprigs
- Slit Green Chillies – 3 to 4 (Alter according to your spice tolerance)
- Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Chilly Powder – 1/2 tsp (Alter according to your spice tolerance)
- Coriander Powder – 2 tsp
- Black Pepper Powder – 1 tsp + 1 tsp
- Grated Coconut – 1 cup
- Coconut Oil – 1.5 tbsp + 1 tbsp
- Water – 2 tbsp
- Salt – to taste
- Garam Masala Powder – 1/2 tsp (optional)
- Fennel Seeds Powder – 1/4 tsp (optional)
- Clean the Mussels thoroughly by pinching out the greyish-black grit found inside each Mussel. Wash it in plenty of water to remove any dirt and grit. Squeeze the mussels to remove water and keep it aside.
- Heat 1.5 tbsp oil in a man chatti (clay pot). Throw in the shallots, garlic, ginger, green chillies and a sprig curry leaves. Saute until the shallots begin to brown.
- Reduce heat and add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp red chilly powder, 2 tsp coriander powder and 1 tsp black pepper powder. Saute for a few minutes.
- Add the cleaned Mussels to the pan along with the grated coconut and salt to taste.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water and mix everything. The clams will let out water as it gets cooked. Cover and cook on medium heat for around 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Open the pan and stir fry the mussels on medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes, adding 1 tbsp of oil little by little while the meat gets browned.
- Sprinkle 1 tsp of black pepper powder. Throw in one more sprig of curry leaves and stir fry for a minute. Remove from heat when the clams have become slightly crispy and dry.
- For a variation, you can add a little garam masala powder and fennel seeds powder while the clams get cooked.