I have always thought clams are slightly too “fishy” so there is only one way that I can truly enjoy this funny type of shellfish. Stir fry them with rich spices and mask it up with ginger or galangal. The only thing I would like to retain from the original clams-related flavor is the giddying texture of the clam meat and the enjoyment of sucking the shell loudly, even after the meat is all gone. Ha.
Nik picked up a couple of kilos of clams from the wet market yesterday and showed me how to make this. The real twist is the fermented bean paste used. I think it will never be the same if it is prepared without our precious yet smelly taoco. As I always said, two stinkies equal one tasty dish.
Stir-Fried Clams with Chili and Bean Paste
For spice paste
10 (40 g) red chili
3 cloves garlic
50 g palm sugar, shaved
1 tbsp fermented bean paste (taoco)
1,5 kg clams
2" fresh galangal (25 gr), lightly smashed
1 tomato, quartered
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cooking oil
Wash clams under runny water and rub shells lightly with salts and quickly rinse with more clean water
Grind ingredients for spices in a grinder till resembles grainy paste
Heat cooking oil in a wok and stir fry spice paste, tomato pieces and galangal for 3 minutes over high heat, till fragrant
Toss in the clams, mix well with the rest of the ingredients. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes
Add cornstarch and stir till everything mix together. Remove when the sauce starts to thicken, in about 2-3 mnutes.