As a somewhat experienced home cook, I’ve gotten to the point where I feel like I know what I’m doing in the kitchen. I’ve dealt with my share of lengthy and difficult recipes and I don’t typically shy away from learning something new. Case in point: whole wheat blue cheese crackers, pretzel crusted cheese eggs, and bacon jam.

Even with all of that experimentation, I don’t cook much seafood at home. It was seen as something best left to the professionals. Or so I thought. As part of a recipe based meal plan, I was recently tasked with making this Sundubu Clam Stew. Turns out, clams are super easy to incorporate into a meal. Seriously. They require minimal cleaning and are ready to eat in minutes. I looked on with excitement as the clams opened up and after tasting one, deemed it a success.

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

If you’re hesitant about cooking clams, give it a try by heading over to Bon Appetit for the stew recipe. Sundubu is a seafood and tofu stew that was developed not too long ago — in the 1990s — by Korean immigrants in Los Angeles. It incorporates gochujang, a hot pepper paste that flavors the broth and adds a lot of spice. You can buy it online or make it yourself using your desired level of spice. I’ve included my gochujang recipe below. It’s best made using a mortar and pestle, but if you have another way of smashing peppers into a paste, go for it.

Gochujang (Korean Red Pepper Paste)

3 tbsp dried peppers (I used a mix of thai chili and mild red jalapeño)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp yellow miso
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

In a mortar, smash dried peppers with a pestle until ground. Add garlic, miso, and sugar and use the pestle to combine ingredients. Whisk in soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil until combined. Use as desired.