This is my home-style Chinese recipe for steamed lala clams, and currently my favourite way of cooking them. Aromatics – ginger, shallots, chilli, spring onions and fermented black beans – are first stir-fried for fragrance, after which the lala clams are added to the wok to steam for a couple of minutes. This is an extremely fast recipe as the actual cooking time is less than 5 minutes – overcooking is a no-no and will result in chewy and rubbery clams. As usual when I eat clams, I licked up all the spicy and savoury sauce from the shells and the plate. The best place to get clams are at the wet market because they are so fresh and cheap (I pay about S$3 for 1kg of clams), but sometimes I also use frozen Japanese clams for days that I am not out marketing.
If you are using frozen clams, thaw them before use.
In this recipe, "lala" clams are steamed in Chinese aromatics - ginger, shallots, chilli, spring onions and fermented black beans. This is an extremely fast recipe as the actual cooking time is less than 5 minutes – overcooking is a no-no and will result in chewy and rubbery clams.
Prep Time:10 mins
Cook Time:5 mins
500 grams clams such as lala clams, manilla clams or asari clams
salted water for soaking clams
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp Chinese wine (Hua Tiao/Shao Hsing)
2 stalks spring onions (scallions) cut to 5cm (2 inch) length
2 shallots finely chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
2 slices ginger minced
2 chilli padi (bird's eye chili) sliced thinly; to taste
1/2 tbsp fermented black beans rinsed, patted dry & mashed slightly with a fork
Scrub the lala clams thoroughly with a hard bristles brush. Soak the clams in salted water for at least an hour for the clams to purge out sand and impurities. Drain the water, rinse the clams and set aside.
Heat cooking oil in wok. Add the bottom white ends of the spring onions and (A). Stir fry for about 30 seconds.
Add washed clams, water and Chinese wine. Stir fry for a brief moment to coat the clams in the sauce, add the remaining spring onions, then cover with lid to let the clams steam for about 2 minutes, until all or most of the shells are opened. Discard any shells that remain closed.