Curry-Coconut Clam Chowder, Papi-Style


One of Choi’s first chef jobs was at an L.A. country club where he made New England clam chowder every Friday. This lighter, Asian-inflected version includes green curry paste, coconut milk and plenty of lime juice.Warming Soup RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook

Curry-Coconut Clam Chowder, Papi-Style
Photo: © Chris Court
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 1 small baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 4 ounces pancetta or bacon, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon minced fennel

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • One 13-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

  • 2 dozen Manila or littleneck clams

  • 3 cups chopped clams with their juices

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • Cilantro sprigs, for garnish 

  • Thai basil and rau ram (Vietnamese coriander), for garnish


  1. Cook the potato in a medium saucepan of salted boiling water just until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain.

  2. In a large saucepan, cook the pancetta over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until light golden, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the fennel, garlic and green curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and lime juice and return to a simmer. Add the potato, Manila clams and the chopped clams and their juices. Cover and cook until the Manila clams open, 5 to 7 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open. Season the chowder with salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro, basil and rau ram and serve warm.

Suggested Pairing

Zesty, herb-scented Sauvignon Blanc: 2012 Brander Santa Ynez Valley

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