Baby clams, like other kinds of seafood such as crabs, shrimps, razor clams, etc, can be cooked with tamarind water (made from tamarind pulp stirred in water) into palatable dishes.
Tamarind pods, or pulps, are used quite popularly in many Vietnamese food. They add sour taste to sour soups, and add sweet-sour taste to stir-fried foods. Other sour fruits can be used to bring in the sourness to the food too, but tamarinds are always preferred in sweet-sour dishes.
This particular dish is easy to cook. Just a small notice that we cook the whole live baby clams, so make sure we wash them very well before cooking.
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
- 400g baby clams
- 2 tbs tamarind pulp
- 5 tbs water
- 2 tbs shaved palm sugar
- 2 tbs cooking oil
- 1 large chili, finely chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tbs fish sauce
- 3 tbs chopped cilantro
- Clean the clams several times with clear water.
- Mix the tamarind pulp in water then strain to remove seeds and hard substances. Stir in palm sugar.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the chili and garlic for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the clams, toss well to coat them with oil. Pour in the tamarind water and fish sauce. Toss the clams constantly until they can be opened easily and the sauce is thickened (cooking time is about 5-7 minutes). Season with salt (if necessary). Toss in the cilantro and remove from the heat.
- Serve immediately.