(THE NEW PAPER) - Eating cockles is a guilty pleasure that I love indulging in. I like the old-fashioned way of boiling them and eating them with spicy sambal belacan.
Prying open cockles can be a tedious task though. Perhaps they taste better when you have to work that bit harder for them.
Recently I found a more convenient way of enjoying cockles. I was delighted to find raw shucked cockles on the half shell. It inspired me to try different ways of cooking them.
The shucked cockles on half shell are sold frozen, but they are no less fresh-tasting once you are done defrosting and cooking them.
Dousing them in Shaoxing wine followed by a spicy garlic dressing makes this humble shellfish a touch fancier and tastier. Adjust the amount of garlic and chilli to suit your preference.
500g raw cockles on half shell
4 Tbs Shaoxing wine
40ml cooking oil
30g garlic cloves, chopped
30g shallots, chopped
3 chilli padi, finely minced
1 red finger chilli, minced
½ tsp salt
2 stalks of spring onion, finely sliced
1. Place the cockles on a heat-proof dish.
2. Drizzle on 2 tablespoons of Shaoxing wine. (Below)
3. Steam for one minute.
4. Transfer cockles to clean serving dish, discarding the residual liquid from steaming. Set aside.
5. In a wok or pan, heat the oil on medium heat.
6. Add the garlic, shallot, chilli padi and red finger chilli. (Below)
7. Lower the heat and let the mixture cook for 30 seconds.
8. Add the rest of the Shaoxing wine and season with salt.
9. Add the spring onion and cook for another 10 seconds. (Below)
10. Drizzle the garlic mixture over the steamed cockles. Serve immediately.