Muzi Market sent me a bunch of seafood this morning and there was a packet of live clams included. Decided to cook them up local tze char style and since my mum really enjoyed the dish, I'm documenting it down here for you guys in this quick recipe post!
This version was inspired by the one I ate at JB Ah Meng + makes use of whatever I've got at home. The bits of dried shrimp flecks in the sauce end up getting caught in between the clam shells, lending so much flavour and texture. Another key component in this dish is chilli bean paste, which is also used in this hearty recipe.
Didn't have any spring onions so I substituted with what I did have on hand - some (days-old) italian parsley for a hit of freshness at the end. Use what you have. If you want to stay true to the Tze Char experience, throw in some chicken powder to amp up the Umami (MSG) factor. Still tastes great without if you're wondering.. Anyway, am off to bake for cake orders.. .TAAA~~
1kg live clams, soaked in salt water for a few hours to draw out the sand
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon ginger, minced
1 large red chili, sliced
25g dried shrimps, soaked in water for 15 minutes
1 Heaped Tablespoon of doubanjeang/chilli bean paste
1/2 teaspoon dark soy
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon potato or corn starch dissolved in 1 Tablespoon of water
1 Tablespoon chinese wine
light soy or chicken powder, to taste
2 to 3 Tablespoons canola oil
Before we begin, roughly chop up your dried shrimps and set aside. Make sure you've got all your aromatics and seasonings prepped and ready to go, all within arm's reach. This stir-fry happens quickly!
Heat your wok up over medium heat and tip in your canola oil. When the oil is heated up, toss in your chopped up dried shrimps and stir fry until they're nicely golden brown. Then, add in your aromatics (ginger, garlic, chillies) and fry until they soften lightly.
Next, crank your heat up to high and topple all your clams in, along with the chilli bean paste, sugar anddark soy sauce. Continue to stir everything around. The clams will exude some of their liquid as they cook, which will form your sauce. Add in your chicken powder (if using), along with the potato/cornstarch slurry.
To finish, splash some chinese wine around the sides of your wok. It's done when the clams have all opened up and the sauce has thickened up nicely. Adjust and taste for seasoning. You won't need to salt this much as the clams, dried shrimps and bean paste are already salty. Garnish with spring onions or cilantro. Enjoy!