100 mltamarind pulp, or to taste80 gmlight palm sugar, or to taste60 ml(¼ cup) fish sauce, or to taste500 gmpetit bouchot mussels (see note)500 gmclams2lemongrass stalks, thinly sliced3long red chillies, seeds removed, cut into julienne1 cup(loosely packed) Thai basil leavesTo serve:lime wedgesChicken stock3chicken carcasses, all skin and fat removed4green onions, sliced1onion, sliced40 gm(8cm piece) ginger, slicedChilli jam1 litre(4 cups) vegetable oil2small Spanish onions, thinly sliced80 gm(¾ cup) garlic cloves, finely minced15 gm(1½ cups) dried red chillies, seeds removed60 gm(½ cup) dried shrimp, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes, drained15 gm(3cm piece) galangal, sliced and dry-roasted (see note)100 mltamarind pulp100 gmlight palm sugar, pounded100 mlfish sauce or 1 tbsp sea salt
For chicken stock, wash chicken bones thoroughly under cold running water to remove any blood. Combine in a large stockpot with 4 litres cold water and bring to the boil. Skim scum with a spoon, then reduce heat to low, add remaining ingredients and simmer, skimming regularly to remove any scum, until well flavoured (3-5 hours). Strain through a fine sieve and discard solids. Set aside 300ml. Remaining stock will keep refrigerated for 2 to 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
Meanwhile, for chilli jam (see note), heat oil in a wok or saucepan over high heat until just smoking. Add onion and sauté until light golden (2-3 minutes). Strain through a fine sieve, reserving oil, and set aside until as much oil as possible is drained (5 minutes). Transfer onion to a bowl and set aside. Return oil to pan, add garlic and fry until light golden (2-3 minutes), then drain well through a fine sieve and add to onion. Return oil to pan, add chillies and fry until lightly toasted, without burning (5-10 seconds). Remove from pan with a slotted spoon, add to onion mixture. Add dried shrimp and sauté until lightly toasted (1 minute). Remove with a slotted spoon, briefly drain on absorbent paper, then add to onion mixture. Reserve oil. Add galangal to onion mixture, then pound in a large mortar and pestle until coarsely ground. Return to wok with remaining ingredients and 60-80ml of reserved oil and stir over a low heat until combined, then cool. Makes about 1 cup. Chilli jam will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for 2 weeks.
Heat reserved chicken stock in a saucepan, add 200gm chilli jam and whisk to thicken to a pouring consistency, then season to taste with tamarind pulp, palm sugar and fish sauce. It should taste sweet, salty, sour and caramelised. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Heat a large saucepan over high heat, add mussels, cover with a lid and shake pan occasionally until mussels open (4-6 minutes). Transfer mussels to a large bowl (keep warm), reserving pan juices. Add clams, lemongrass and chilli to pan, cover and shake pan occasionally until clams open (3-4 minutes). Add clams, basil and stock mixture to mussels, toss lightly to combine, drizzle over pan juices to taste, season to taste with extra chilli jam, if you like, then toss lightly and serve with lime wedges.
Note Petit bouchot mussels are available from select fishmongers from winter to late spring. If unavailable, substitute other small fresh mussels. As an alternative to making your own chilli jam, you can buy nam prik pao, a Thai chilli jam, from quality Asian food stores. Dry-roast galangal by placing it in a hot oven until fragrant and dry (10-15 minutes).
This recipe is from the November 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.