20 October, 2012

Clam Chowder, non-dairy

I have had a gigantic craving for clam chowder the last two weeks. It occurred to me that I could make some - with coconut milk.
I have used coconut milk with great success with cream of broccoli soup but, frankly, how much green soup can a person eat in their lifetime? (rhetorical)

I haven't had as much creative clutter up in my head lately. Working full-time with overtime and zero time for breaks, I am always about two steps behind at work. My head, in a huge sudoku game, has been puzzling how to get two more things done AND take a break (damn it!). Which doesn't make good blog posting as who really wants to hear about the janitorial contract and attachment five in triplicate and getting the payroll and the eflash numbers by lunchtime.

I'm only thinking about my readers.

Pencil Girl and I and Theatre Girl went to a Hat show (grand opening) and Josephine's Dry Goods a week ago and there is plenty of good bloggy material to post. In reality, 50 pounds of tomatoes to freeze, shorts to sew, Japanese hand-sewn gifties to sew, and the aforesaid w-o-r-k and I might need a break.

Anyway --- back to the chowder. As many of you know, I endure amazing food sensitivities, resulting in boring menus (salad? Yes, please. Let's just have salad the rest of my life). Occasionally, I suffer from epiphanies and thought that I could possibly make clam chowder - using coconut milk instead of the dairy.

I have to say, while the coconut 'taste' is nearly non-existent  with broccoli, it's a little more pronounced with the clams. So I added twice the usual amount of thyme and hot sauce and it has  turned out interesting, as in tasty. My husband slurped down two bowls.  The real test is tomorrow when the flavors have had time to meld.

Kathy's Clam Chowder, non-dairy

2 cans Snow's Chopped Clams, drain and reserve the clam juice.
5-6 Potatoes  -- from my garden - mix of red and yellow
Sea Salt, White Pepper
5 slices of Bacon fried (non-nitrate - Voget's in Hubbard)
1  13.5 oz can Coconut Milk
2 tsps.Thyme - dried from my garden
20 drops Hot Sauce
Brown Rice Flour to thicken.
Dollop of real butter

Peel potatoes and cut into 3/4" chunks. Barely cover with salted water. Add white pepper if you have it.  Boil until nearly tender.
I dumped about 1/2 cup of the water and then added the reserved Clam Juice.

Add the Coconut Milk (turn down heat to medium - once you add any milk - you don't want it to boil again)
Now start adding the flavorings. If you didn't add salt to the potatoes, add some here.
I typically use white pepper in my clam chowder.
I usually use about a teaspoon of Thyme but I felt the coconut flavor needed to be damped down - so add two tsps.
Add some Hot Sauce. Taste, Add more, Taste. Maybe two more drops.
Now add the clams.
Break up your bacon into bite-size or smaller pieces and add.

Stir.    Taste.    Might be thin.
To about 1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour (your choice of thickener), stir in water to mix, add to chowder to thicken.
Dollop of real butter.

Yum. Totally satisfied the craving.
And I minimized the allergen response.

  • I typically can handle butter way better than milk, cream or cheeses.
  •  I try to wash off the starch from the potatoes and this helps me. 
  • Alternative flours in small bits are better than regular flours for me. But I typically do not eat any grains or legumes. This has helped to minimize my joint pain.
  • Pork products tend to bother me but I don't have much problem with Voget's bacon - theorizing it's the nitrates/chemicals.
  • Canned coconut milk is cheaper than the cardboard cartons in the refrigerated section which often have odd things added to keep the milk in suspension. Yes - I know that the cans leach a small amount of some plastic chemical but I haven't found a better solution other than moving to a fresh-coconut populated place.
  • Seafood - some gives me problems -- so far, clams are still in.
  • WORK is a four letter word.
  • This was a really good recipe.


  1. That looks delicious! Do you have a preference for which brand of coconut milk? You have two in the photo!

  2. No preferece. Thai kitchen is my usual. I noticed Thrftway was stocking another one (limited english on the label) called Sun Lucky which was cheaper by 20 cents.
    Must put groceries away.

    By the way, the clam chowder was even better the next day.


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