Cockles taste great and can be cooked in a variety of ways to entice the palate.
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FRAGRANT KAM HIONG STYLE FRIED COCKLES
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp dried prawns, soaked and chopped
1 sprig curry leaves
1 stalk lemongrass, sliced thinly
1/2 tsp belacan powder
3 bird’s eye’s chillies, diced
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder
Pinch of salt or to taste
Adequate sugar to taste
2-3 tbsp water
1 tbsp chopped spring onion and coriander leaves
Wash cockles in several rinses of water, then soak them for an hour in a basin of clean water with 1/2 teaspoon salt. (This is to remove any sand and grit.)
Once cockles are clean, blanch in boiling water briefly for 2-3 minutes. Remove cockles from the hot water and strain well.
Heat 2-3 tablespoons oil in a wok and sauté garlic, dried prawns, curry leaves and lemongrass until fragrant. Add belacan powder and stir-fry till fragrant again. Add bird’s eye chillies and cockles. Stir-fry briskly.
Add seasoning to mix. Toss and fry well. Dish up and serve at once with garnishing.
COCKLES WITH FRAGRANT SHAO HSING WINE SAUCE
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1tbsp sliced shallots
3-4 tbsp Shao Hsing Hua Tiew wine
3 bird’s eye chillies, diced
2 long beans, diced
1 tbsp diced tomato
2 stalks spring onion, diced
1 red chilli, seeded and sliced
1 tbsp sugar or to taste
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp fish sauce
Put cockles in a basin of water with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Soak for 1 hour until all grit and dirt is removed.
Blanch cockles in boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until cockles are just semi-cooked. Dish out into a basin of iced water. Remove and strain the excess water.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a wok till hot. Saute garlic and shallots till fragrant. Stir in Shao Hsing Hua Tiew wine and allow to sizzle briskly. Add bird’s eye chillies. Dish out into a bowl and toss in long beans, tomato, spring onion and red chilli to mix.
Prise open the cockles with the half shell taken off. Arrange the cockles with the shells on a serving plate. Spoon the fragrant wine sauce ingredients over and serve at once.
POACHED COCKLES TOSSED IN VINAIGRETTE DRESSING
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
3 bird’s eye chilies, diced
5-6 kasturi limes, juiced
1 tbsp grated lime rind
4 tbsp castor sugar or to taste
1 tbsp fish sauce
Wash cockles in several rinses of running tap water till all mud and grit is removed. Soak cockles in water with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Leave aside for 1 hour. Drain cockles well.
Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil. Turn off the heat and add the cockles.
Cover the pot and allow to poach for 1-2 minutes. Strain the cockles on a wire strainer to remove excess water. Put aside.
Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a glass container. Stir till sugar dissolves and set aside.
Serve cockles in individual serving small bowls tossed with the sweet tangy vinaigrette dressing at once.