Friday, March 4, 2011

Clams in Broth 上汤蝲蝲

Lala is the local name for the clams used here. It's a thin shelled clam that is not found countrywide naturally. But sold countrywide. Maybe for the peninsula only. I'm not sure. East Malaysians, would be glad to get your clarification on this.

I'm not the type of person that consumes all molluscs. I don't like mussels and oysters. But I like them in soups, but don't ask me to bite into one. I CANNOT comsume cockles, no matter how tasty they are, no. I'd be in the toilet the whole day. I like scallops but they are too pricey. So, the cheapest and tastiest for me is Lala.
Used to be cheaper, but recently due to low supplies, prices hit RM8kg, which is considered rather pricey.

Lalas are very sweet, but they are dirty. They live in mud, not sand beds. So, you must wash them internally before cooking.
How to wash the insides? Soak them in salt water(as salty as the sea), not fresh water. If not, you'd kill them. You don't want to eat dead clams. When they sense there is salty water around them they will open up their shells and this way, the mud in them wil be spit out as well. Soak for a few hours at least. And never ever chill your lalas, you'd kill them too. Buy them the day you want to eat. If you intend to cook it for dinner but bought it in the morning, keep them alive in salt water. After cooked, do not eat any closed clams. Only eat opened up clams.

If you intend to cook them with a thick gravy, do not dump them straight into your wok. They'd release so much moisture you will have soup at the end and not thick gravy. Parboil the lalas before adding into you favourite gravy. You can check out my Spicy LaLa post.

But today, I intend to cook this with something light and clear. With broth. My hubby was estatic when he knew I was cooking lala for dinner, but when he saw I cooked it in broth, he said, 'Ohh Wasted. I thought you're going to cook spicy lala." But in the end, he slurped every bit of the broth, took 2nds and 3rds. Licking the bowl clean each time. Hahah! Never judge a book by its cover, or maybe a broth by it's colour.

This dish is inspired by Shogun. A Japanese buffet restaurant in Klang Valley. I know it's not one of the best places to eat Japanese food, but just close one eye for the price that one pays. They have this 'clams in superior stock' that I'd eat by the bowlsful each time I go there. My hubby wonders why. Hahaha. I did not use superior broth, but just frugal dried anchovies and this is good enough for us. The soup was cleared up by only 4 adults. MSG free and absolutely SWEEEEEEEEET!

Clams in Broth
Recipe source: Wendyywy

1kg lala clam
1/2 bowl dried anchovies, rinsed
1 L water

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed, do not chop
2 shallots, sliced
2 inch ginger, julienned
2 Tbsp goji berries (wolfberry)
Large handful of Chinese Celery / Kan Choy/ Daun sup
2 Tbsp Shao Xing Wine
Salt to taste

1. In a small pot, put in 1 tsp oil and saute rinsed anchovies for a while. Put in water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook until broth turns whitish.
2. Soak lalas in salt water for few hours. Wash and rinse a few times in fresh water just before cooking. Removing clams with only mud in them. Some clams were long dead and the shells were filled with mud instead.
3. Heat a bigger pot /wok and put in 1 Tbsp oil. Put in smashed garlic and sliced shallots and cook until fragrant, no need to be golden.
4. Put in rinsed lalas and pour in hot strained broth. Add more water if needed. Put in ginger.
5. Bring a boil and season with salt.
6. Put in goji berries and cook until clams have opened up. Turn off the heat and put in Chinese celery and Shao Xing Wine.

Don't forget that I'm posting Mon-Fri.
See you on Monday.

Berry Week


  1. I can already imagine the seafood sweetness from the lala....mmmm! Thefirst time I ate lala was in Penang on vacation with some friends...boy it was good! I haven't been looking out, not too sure I can find them here in Sg.

  2. Mmmmm ... clams do make the sweetest soup! Yum!

  3. I like all the recipes you featured in Seafood week...thanks for sharing! Looking forward to your next theme...Berry!

  4. In Klang we have a restaurant that does steamed lala very well, it's so delicious customers are willing to wait more than an hour for their orders...will try this version and see if can fight with them:D

  5. the soup must be very sweet and good. have a nice weekend ahead.

  6. I love clam~ bet it tastes delicious :)

  7. I love clams, especially the one fried with ginger. Hope to have this soup for dinner :)

  8. Nice if eaten with rice when soup is very hot.

    PS : Thks for the virus info about my site. Have check out all the html. Should be ok now but still monitoring the situation.

  9. i've cooked this a few times but i find mine not so tasty..i think i shld add in the wine and the coriander to enhance the taste nex time.

  10. Bee,
    Oh maybe you can try this with clams that are found there.

    Oh yes they do

    Glad you liked them. See you next week

    Oh no.... please don't compare restaurant food with homecooked ones. Techniques and ingredients are different.

    Oh yes very sweet. You have a nice weekend too

    It sure does, at least for my family

    Ah Tze,
    Fried with ginger? Sounds yummy

    Oh I hope ur site will be fine.
    With the added wine and chinese celery hoh, even when warm it was ok ler
    No fishy smell.

    I used Chinese celery rather than coriander.
    The smell is somehow different. But you may use coriander if you prefer coriander's smell.
    Did you parboil the lala before putting in? If you did then it may not be that sweet oredi.

  11. This is a standard soup in factory canteens in Taiwan. Your story transports me to the good old days when I worked there :)
    You must be very disciplined to adhere to your theme every week !

  12. mm...This clams in super stock looks heavenly! Love this kind of soup, esp. in hot summer days!

  13. Experimental Cook,
    Ohh... Thanks for telling me that.
    Well, some are old posts, some are new.
    It's fun to go themed. Makes a refreshing change.

  14. Angie,
    Oh... it's supposed to be cooling?
    But then it's really really hot here now. 40C!!!

  15. We can't get lala here and the only we can find are clams. Hardly eat that either because it is so expensive. Have to wait till I go home to eat this :)

  16. My hubby and I used to "catch" these during our courting days. Absolutely good in soup or just stir fry with sambal.

  17. Gert,
    Oh clams are expensive there? Those hard shell ones are not that expensive here, but one kg won't yield much.

    Wah... so syok catch these ah. Must have been really fun.

  18. I am the opposite of you, I love cockle and usually medium rear somemore. Luckily I don't go toilet whole day after taking..hehe. I love lala too and when in spicy gravy is even better. In the western cuisine I love the clams in white wine with lots of ginger and coriander. You are right it is a must to par boil them first. It is a good tip for those who did not know. I like the you put wolfberries into our clam coup. Add a touch of class to it! I wish you were here with us yesterday lunch in my house. We had and great time and I we still talk about our last gathering at Reese's place. It was fun. Let us know when you come down to KL again and have some time to spare and catch up with us ok? Have a beautiful Sunday=)

  19. Quay Po,
    Luckly u to be able to consume cockles. My gastrointestinal system cannot take it, too bad!!
    I'm coming down again on 26th, but for a family occasion, so I don't know if I can make time to see you all, and I might be coming again in April to meet Jess Bakericious.

  20. I cooked some clams last week too, so sweeeet. This is a nice change from spicy lala.

  21. Oh, on the 26th I will not be available so probably will miss you my dear. If you know the date in April, maybe we can plan something and Jess will be welcome to join us. Can have lunch or tea at my place. Let's play by ear.

  22. Wah this week all very high-cholestrol n calorie food from you huh?

  23. pigpigscorner,
    Haha, but for my hubby, he'd still the spicy version.

    Sure, I'll let u know.

    Haiya, once a while looo.... indulge a bit. kekeke.

  24. Husband loves this kind of soup and has been telling me his aunty used to cook lala and abalone porridge for him! I am going to just stock to this economical recipe..

    thanks for this great idea!


  25. Hi,

    Would love to ask what can I substitute the wine? Thanks!

  26. Puteri,
    If you do take tapai, you can add tapai into it, if not, just omit it.
    To us, tapai is equivalent to rice wine.


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