"I received a request for clamchowder from one of my readers. At first, I hesitated a little since it seemed to be quite a complicated dish to cook, but I happened to watch several TV programs about clamchowder. They certainly enhanced my appetite for the dish and thus I cooked one. This is descriptive only, to my regret, without any photos. In compensation, however, I presented my comparative study of three recipes. I will take photos for the page next time I cook clamchowder."

Made on: Feb 1996 , Translated: 15 Aug 1998

Reference books:
  1. Carlee Saijo, "BILINGUAL COOKING", pp.93-101 (1990), Cosumo no honn, ISBN4-096380-05-0, 1,800 yen
  2. dancyu, [2] pp.24-25 (1996), president company, 830 yen
  3. 17 Feb 1996 on air TV programs "Chubo-desuyo"

  Carlee Saijo1) dancyu2) Chubo-desuyo3)
Clam2 tins(medium size)
(small size)
1 kg
Bacon10 rashers1 cm square 1/2 cups80 g
Onion2 1 cm cube
3 table spoon
Potatocubed 2.5 cups1 cm cube 1 cup2
Celery11 cm cube 1/2 cups 
Water1.5 cup 700 cc
Salt2 tea spoon1-2 tea spoon1-2 tea spoon
1.5 tea spoon
1 tea spoon1 tea spoon
Flour2 table spoon3 table spoon 
Milk3 cups1.5 cups400 cc
Single cream1cup  
Parsleychopped 1/4 cups chopped 1/4 cups
Butter 20 - 30 g50g plus 30g
to add at the end


Next is the method. In a TV program, the following 3 recipes were introduced. These are the comprehensive versions of the recipes.

  Hotel Bulnie Hotel
Hotel Okura
Clam Boiled & gutted.Steam.Use raw clams with water pipes cut.
Cut into the size of a thumb nail.
Prepare Boil bacon to remove excess fat. Fry garlic, bacon, onion, celery, poireau (leek), zucchini, white bean, corn and potato with olive oil. Boil bacon and potato separately.
Fry With unsalted butter and then add water in which clams were boiled and put in potato. Put clam juice into the pan and add chicken stock. Fry onion with butter and then add chicken stock and add lorie leave. Add boiled potato and bacon.
Simmer Season with salt and pepper & when vegetables are cooked add clam and warm milk. Put bread, cracker and milk into a mixer to make bread paste and add this into the soup to make it thick. Add clam and season with salt and pepper. Since the clams are raw, do not use the boiled water. Add milk and single cream, and season with salt and pepper. Add shelled raw clam.
Finish Finish with butter monter Chop parsley, celneco (?), chive and mix then with double cream to float on the soup to garnish. Add cold butter monte and sprinkle with crashed cracker for garnish.

From the above, the preparation of clams are different (boiled, steamed or raw) between professional chefs. I think that these can cause subtle difference in taste. Also there are variations in the preparation of essential ingredients namely onion, potato and bacon. The orthodox method is to fry onion first, but dancyu method is i) put bacon, ii) using the oil to fry onion and add butter if oil is short. On the other hand, some hotel chefs boil bacon first to remove excessive fat and smell, some fry with garlic, etc. Their methods also vary. They also use chicken stock and I speculate that this is to enhance flavour. I would like to draw attention to home-style Saijo method. It fries onion and bacon, and then add flour to thicken the soup. On the contrary, hotels take up more complicated methods to create thickness or flavour. This maybe the product of professionalism. The seasoning is mainly with salt and (white) pepper and finished with butter, and this is common among all versions.

Clamchowder essentially requires shellfish like clams and short-neck clams in addition to onion, bacon, potato, milk, salt, pepper and butter. Depending on your fridge contents, carrot, celery, zucchini, white beans etc can also be added and it is up to you. It seems to be an extra bonus if you find cream to pour in for your home-style clamchowder.

The following is my recipe which is a mix of Dancyu and Chubo recipes. All ingredients are cut into 1 cm cube. Short-neck clams need no chopping due to its smaller size than clams. the way, clams are fairly expensive, aren't they? Shame... it's a little too dear for everyday cooking...(You can buy very good frozen and bottled ones) You may find some shortage in ingredients, but that was all I had in my fridge then. I must say that this is not the best recipe and am afraid that it may not be a good reference. However, my children made satisfying comments on the clamchowder

Ingredients: (serves: 5-6)
  • Short-neck Clam - 700g
  • Bacon - 8 lashes
  • Onion (medium) - 1
  • Potato (medium) - 2
  • Water - 3 cups (600 cc)
  • Salt & black pepper
  • Milk - 1.5 cups (300 cc)
  • Parsley (chopped)
  • Butter
  1. Chop all ingredients into 1 cm cube. Soak potato in water.
  2. Put s-n clams in 3-4 cups of water and heat. When shells start to open, take them out and shell them. Remove all foam from the surface of the water and sieve.
  3. While (2), melt butter in the pan and fry onion and bacon.
  4. Add the water from 2 into the pan, add drained potato and simmer at low heat. I do not use flour as it tends to burn the soup and forms lumps.
  5. Simmer for about 30 minutes. The potato should be tender by then. Add milk and shelled s-n clam. Warm again and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Check the taste again, and put some butter to enhance flavour in the end.
  7. Serve in a warm dish and sprinkle chopped parsley to garnish.

Contents copyright 1996-1998 Mitsuo Sugawara
Translator: MoonCat