Carpet clams that have a good depth of flavour in themselves are stir-fried with roasted chili paste to create a wonderfully delicious dish.
Think of ambling along the beach and smelling the ocean breeze. If you were able to eat that smell, it would be what the clams’ taste like, a chewy sea breeze. Clams are slightly briny and have glutamate and several minerals in themselves. Carpet clams are a variety popular to eat in Thailand. Thais like to stir-fry them with roasted chili paste. The roasted chili paste with good quality often has a wonderful flavour balanced among sour, salty, sweet and a little spicy, so that this menu sometimes just needs a bit more adjustment of seasonings. Basil leaves added to also provide aroma to the dish. This menu is often served in Thai restaurants. It is called as hoi lai pad nam prik pao in Thai.
- 300 clams (preferably carpet clams), cleaned well
- 2 vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 5 small fresh chilies (use bird chilies, serrano or jalapeno if available), sliced diagonally
- 2 tbsp roasted chili paste
- ½ tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water (or stock)
- 1 handful Thai basil leaves
- Heat a wok or deep-frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the oil, minced garlic and sliced fresh chilies and sauté until fragrant and the minced garlic is slightly golden brown.
- Add the clams and stir-fry until almost cooked and their shells look yellowish orange, observing if their shells open slightly.
- Stir in the roasted chili paste, fish sauce, sugar and water (taste and adjust with a bit more fish sauce and sugar if necessary). Stir-fry until cooked through. Add Thai basil leaves and stir-fry briefly to tender. Turn off the heat.
- Transfer to a serving dish. Serve garnished with the basil leaves.