Lala, one of my favourite mom's home-cook food. I hardly order this when I eat out in a restaurant because I am fussy about the taste and the freshness. Mom's one is the BEST in quality and definitely the freshness.
Whenever I go back to home town, Yan Kecil in Kedah; I always look for seafood to eat especially clam and crabs! I will hunt for them when I cycled around in the fish village. Otherwise I will ask my mom whether she can get it from the fishmonger in the market.
Initially I was looking for the harder, longer shape's clams but only this small type of clam so called 'lala' was available in the market during the Hari Raya day. It was only sold for RM3/kilo in the market and more than enough to feed us for lunch and dinner.Seafood is so much cheaper to eat and fresh in home town.
The flesh is really small. So you have to be patient, take the flesh out one by one. Therefore some people don't like to eat them but I enjoy it so much! I feel so satisfy every time when my plate is full of the shells at the end of meal!
Isn't it looking good from the photo? Mom cooked and I just helped her to stir the paste. Okay, here I am going to share my mom's recipe. The ingredient are all estimated in portion as you know, the traditional mom's cooking way :). I try my best to remember everything, hope I didn't miss out anything.
1 kg clams
1 bunch Thai basil
1- 2 tbsp sugar - to taste
5 tbsp oil
1 bulb garlic
5 small shallots
1 inch ginger
5 long red chillies, deseeded
3 tbsp fermented soy bean
- Soak and wash the clams thoroughly.
- Put the paste ingredients in a blender and process until smooth (not necessary to be very smooth).
- Heat the oil in the wok.
- Pour the mixing paste into the wok and stir until fragrant in small to medium fire. (could take up to 5 mins to stir)
- Put the Thai basil and the clams in the wok. Stir quickly to allow the paste and clams mix together.
- Cover the clams with a lid to allow it simmer for 1 minutes.
- Lift the lid and seasoned the dish with sugar.
- Ready to serve.
- How to wash the clams? If you bought the fresh clams from the market, which means they are still alive, you need to soak them in the salt water for at least 1 to 2 hours. Change the water a few times to get rid of the soil/mud/sand.
- It is important to cover the clams with lid. Once the shell is opened, means it is cooked! Make sure it is cooked so that you won't run to the toilet.
- Don't overcooked it, it will turn into rubber-like texture.
- For health purpose, you may reduce the oil to 3 tbsp instead.
Soak the clams in water
Thai basil is important to give the signature flavour to the dish.
Spices to make paste
Mom used traditional way, the mortar and pestle to grind the ingredients into paste
Cover the clams with lid. The clams are cooked once the shells are opened.