Add a hint of luxury only seafood can bring to the dinner table with this stired-fried clams recipe by Wet Market to Table: A Modern Approach to Fruit and Vegetables by chef and author Pamelia Chia.
She says, “I am convinced that lard is magic. It boasts a rich, savoury aroma that makes everything taste better. Though it does take some time to render pork fat at home, it really is worth your effort in this dish. The smoky rendered fat emulsifies into the most delicious sauce when the clams release their briny juices.”
Stir-fried with laksa leaves, pork fat, dish sauce and Shaoxing wine, these clams are so tantalising you would want to make them outside of Chinese New Year.
- 1 kg clams
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 150 g pork fat, cut into 1cm cubes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, minced
- 3 chilli padis, stems removed, minced
- 3 tbsps fish sauce
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 3 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- A large handful of laksa leaves
Begin by preparing the clams. Rinse the clams thoroughly with water and scrub the shells, if necessary.
Place the flour and clams in a large bowl and fill the bowl with enough water to cover the clams liberally. Swirl the clams around the water until the flour has dispersed. Allow the clams to soak for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the clams into a clean bowl, lifting them from the murky water. Rinse thoroughly once more and set them aside until ready to use.
Meanwhile, place the pork fat and salt into a large, cold pan set over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally, until the fat renders and only crispy cubes remain. This should take about 5 to 10 mins.
Remove the crispy pork cubes from the pan and set aside, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. Add the garlic, lemongrass and chilli padis to the pan and increase the heat to medium. Be extra watchful to not let the garlic burn.
As soon as the mixture in the pan smells incredibly fragrant, add the clams. Quickly add the fish sauce, sugar, wine and laksa leaves before covering the pan with a lid.
Cook for 3 mins, shaking the pan from time to time. Remove the lid. The clams should have opened and their juices should have emulsified with the fat in the pan to form a luscious sauce. Taste the sauce and correct the seasoning if necessary with extra fish sauce or sugar. Remove any clams that remain closed, scatter over the crispy pork cubes and serve immediately.
Wet Market To Table (published by Epigram), $44.90, is available at leading bookstores and shop.epigrambooks.sg.