There are hundreds and maybe thousand of varieties of clams out there. So, I do not know what this shellfish is called. In Hokkien, we call it ‘geou hwa’ and it is commonly found in the markets and also hypermarkets.
If you are new to buying seafoods, trust your nose. Smell it. If it has an offensive smell, do not buy. It should smell of the sea and not mud. Also, watch if those clams there are still alive. They will hang out their tongue or tentacle (or whatever it is) and open their shells just a bit. If you move it, it will clamp up, hence we call them clams! LOL, stupid joke, I know.
Soak them in clean tap water. They will spew out a lot of mud as these variety lives in mud. Keep changing the water until you don’t see sediment of mud in your bowl.
If you haven’t got your Hepatitis B (or is it A) jab, avoid them. I guess they are not the cleanest stuffs around, having lived in mud.
After you are sure they have spitted out all those muds in them, drain them in a colander. (I think they found the clorine in our water offensive, hence they spit mud.)
The recipe :
STIR FRIED LALA
Lala – clean well. Quantity about 600 grams
3 pips garlic, chopped
1 thumb size ginger, sliced
1 teaspoon of taucheou or fermented beansauce
1 tiny ball of tamarind pulp (mix with a 1/3 cup of water to make tamarind juice)
Flavorings like sugar and pepper
**Chillies (I didn’t use it but if you put red chillies and tiny birdeyes chillies, you will get a kick-ass gravy)
Heat oil and stir fry the above except the tamarind juice. When the garlic is fragrant, add the lala. Add tamarind juice and test for flavour. Give it a quick stir fry until the shells turn red and all of them are opened up.
Usually, there are some which refused to open. They are either stubborn lala or it is just an empty shell with lots of muds there. If you are serving to people you want to impress, pick out those which did not open up.
However, do not overcook or they turn rubbery.
The dish is really fantastic but as usual, don’t eat too much of these seafoods. I think this is the first time I cook clams in like 5-6 years? I also don’t order them when eating out because they are really overpriced.
Now, I wonder how did the lala term for girls came about?