SINGAPORE - Feeling bogged down by work with no time on your schedule for a quick getaway? You do not need a plane ride to warm your heart with these Cambodian-style cockles. The spicy, tangy tamarind sauce not only whets the appetite, but is also less cloying - you won't get that same sick, bloated feeling when you overindulge in guilty pleasures like this one.
Cockles are inexpensive and practically stress-free to cook. The most difficult part of this recipe is plucking Thai basil leaves off their stems.
To make life even sweeter, get shucked cockles available on the half shell. Raw cockles on the half shell cost a few dollars more, but they are well worth their price for the ease of just slurping them up without the mess of having to open them.
If you are the kind who cares a lot about your image, the best part about eating cockles at home is that you can be as “unglam” as you want because there is no one to judge you. But if you are frying up 1kg of cockles (like I did), you might want to invite your best buddies who have seen you at your worst, beyond sauce-splattered tops. In any case, they will be busy looking at the cockles and not at you.
The “glam” factor comes from the cookware you fry these cockles in. I used a 32-cm wok from the new line of Corningware Plasma Cast Aluminium Cookware, recently launched by kitchenware maker and distributor Corelle Brands.
The cookware has a patented medical grade bio-ceramic coating that stands up to abrasion and heat well. I find the cookware tough and hardy enough to take on the frying of cockles with shells on.
If you love to cook shellfish at home, this is one wok to consider adding to your culinary arsenal. The cookware, crafted from cast aluminium, has excellent heat distribution and you need only low to medium heat to cook your food.
Care for your cookware
1. Before using the cookware for the first time, hand wash it thoroughly with warm soapy water. Rinse and dry.
2. Use cooking utensils made of wood, nylon, silicone or plastic for your cookware.
3. Always allow the cookware to cool completely before cleaning. For stubborn residue, make cleaning easier by pouring hot water and a little detergent into the cookware. Allow the water to cool before washing.
The product line includes a 28-cm saute pan and a 5-litre sauce pot. The cookware can be used on gas, induction, halogen and electric coil cookers.
130g tamarind pulp
3 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs cooking oil
6 garlic cloves, chopped
4 shallots, chopped
1 lemongrass (use 5cm of the white root part), finely sliced
1 red finger chilli, sliced
1 green finger chilli, sliced
2 red chilli padi, sliced
3 green chilli padi, sliced
I Tbs oyster sauce
1 Tbs fish sauce
¼ tsp salt
1kg cockles on half shell
50g Thai basil leaves
1. Place the tamarind pulp in a bowl and add the water. Use a spoon to mix the tamarind pulp with the water.
2. Add the sugar to the tamarind mixture. Stir well and set aside.
3. Heat the oil in the wok, add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds over medium heat.
4. Add the shallots and fry for another 30 seconds.
5. Add the lemongrass and fry for 30 seconds.
6. Add all the sliced finger chilli and chilli padi into the wok. Stir-fry for 20 seconds and add the tamarind mixture. Mix well.
7. Once the mixture begins to simmer, add in the oyster sauce, fish sauce and salt.
8. Stir well and add in the cockles.
9. Cook for one minute.
10. Add in the basil leaves and stir briefly for 10 seconds before transferring the cockles into a serving dish. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Kitchenware courtesy of Corelle Brands
Enjoy discounted prices when you purchase Corningware Plasma Cookware from now until the end of October (2018), while stocks last.
The promotional price for the 28-cm saute pan is $79 (usual price: $99), the 32-cm wok is $89 (usual price: $109) , and the 24-cm sauce pot is at $69 (usual price: $89).
The cookware is available for purchase at BHG Bugis, Tangs VivoCity, OG Albert, OG Orchard Point, OG People’s Park.
Corningware is celebrating its 60th anniversary with roadshows. For more information, go to www.corellebrandsasia.com/event-promotions
For enquiries, call 6468-2008.