Think before you add all those chillies. These spicy clams pack a punch!
As spicy clams go, this recipe is a good one! Sambal Lala is hugely popular in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
When you try this spicy clams recipe, you’ll find out why!
About this recipe for sambal lala – spicy clams.
Sambal is a chilli paste used in many Malaysian and Indonesian recipe. For that matter, many South East Asian cuisines use sambal in their dishes or as a side for dipping.
The one I used in this recipe is common in Indonesia though there are lots of different variations there too.
If you like spicy dishes, then you will love the heat and flavour this simple sambal adds to the dish.
Why are these spicy clams called sambal lala?
The sambal part is of course obvious but ‘lala’? Well lala are a type of clams used in this recipe at street food stalls.
Any clams will do though so use what is most local to you.
Do I have to use so many chillies?
Absolutely not! If you think that this recipe for spicy clams might be a bit too spicy for you, use fewer chillies. You want to enjoy this after all.
You could still get that intense red colouring by adding a red bell pepper.
Does this recipe work with other seafood?
It sure does! If spicy clams aren’t your thing, you could try mussels, prawns or any seafood that you like.
If cooking fish, be sure not to stir it while cooking. Just move the pan around and it will stay whole and look amazing rather than falling apart.
Step by step photographs…
If you like these spicy clams, you might like to try some of these too…
Pad Thai with Peanut Butter Sauce
Vietnamese Grilled Scallops
Punjabi Fish Fry
Cha Ca – Vietnamese Fried Fish with Dill
Spicy Clams - Sambal Lala
- 1kg (2 1/4lb.) frozen clams or cleaned fresh clams
- Lime wedges to serve
- FOR THE SAMBAL
- 8 large red bird’s eye chillies or similar
- 10 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 x 5cm (3 inch) ginger, roughly chopped
- 8 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 lemongrass stalk, peeled white part only, thinly slice
- 4 lime leaves, stem removed and roughly chopped
- FOR THE SAUCE
- 3 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
- 1 tbsp Madras curry powder
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp katsup manis
- 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp palm sugar or light brown sugar (optional)
- 125ml (1/2 cup) water
- 70ml (1/4 cup) fish sauce (more or less to taste)
- Place the chillies, garlic, ginger, shallots, lemongrass and lime leaves in a food processor and blend with just enough water to make a thick paste. This is your quick and easy sambal! Set aside.
- Now whisk the sauce ingredients together except the oil and Madras curry powder. The fish sauce adds a salty flavour but you might want to add a little less at first and then top it up at the end of cooking to your own taste preference.
- Heat the oil over medium high heat in a wok or similar. When visibly hot, stir in the Madras curry powder and fry for about 15 seconds and then add the prepared sambal. Fry for about 3 minutes and then stir in the prepared sauce.
- Turn the heat up to high and add the clams. Simmer until all of the shells have opened. If any don’t open, discard them. Check for seasoning, adding more fish sauce for a savoury flavour, oyster sauce or katsup manis for a sweeter flavour.
- Serve hot with lime wedges at the table to squeeze over the clams to taste.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 227Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 1078mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 6gSugar: 16gProtein: 16g