Spicy Clam Soup with Basturma

By | December 15, 2015


1. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, pepper paste, cilantro, cayenne, cumin, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix thoroughly with a spoon or spatula (do not use a whisk).

2. Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat, add the tomato mixture and cook until the mixture becomes fragrant and tomatoes begin to break down, about 1 minute. Add the clams, stock and basturma and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook, shaking the pot occasionally, just until all of the clams have opened. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the clams to serving bowls, leaving the broth in the pot.

3. Add the butter to the broth and check for seasoning. The basturma and the clams carry a good deal of salinity, and the soup will probably not need salt. Ladle the broth over the clams, garnish each bowl with a handful of cilantro leaves, and serve with thick slices of grilled bread.

Recipe from Soup for Syria, Edited and photographed by Barbara Abdeni Massaad Interlink Books, 2015; 208 pages

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  • 3–4 tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2–4 tablespoons red pepper paste
  • Small bunch cilantro, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds Manila clams, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3½ ounces basturma (Turkish air-dried cured beef, or substitute pastrami), diced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Grilled or toasted bread, to serve
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