6 Easy Steps: Chili Clams

Chili Clams. In this chili clams recipe, the saline and sweet flavors of the clams are nicely complemented by the intense heat of the chili and the creamy bean sauce.

Clams are a favorite seafood dish in Malaysia, especially when they’re cooked in a hot chili paste.

My mother used to get clams from the marketplace and cook them in a variety of delicious recipes, such as chili clams, which is why I adore clams. Among my earliest childhood recollections, my favorite is my experience in many clam-digging picnics with my friends on the beaches.

On every beach trip we took as children, my friends and I would look for siput (a type of shellfish) by digging up the sandy bottoms. I used to get giddy every time we went to the beach because we’d spend hours gathering clams for dinner.

Fresh clams were always on my mind when I lived in the Midwest of the United States. Due to the frigid temperature, there have never been any live clams available in the local markets. Our local Chinese restaurants might occasionally have clams, but they were usually stale and disgusting to eat.

But when I moved to the west coast, fresh and live clams were constantly available at Asian markets. I could always get my fill of chili clams anytime I wanted.

Note that once the shells open, remove the clams from the heat as soon as possible to avoid overcooking. The clams are likely bad if they do not open when you open them up.

Chili clams combine the saline, sweet flavors of clams with a chili and bean sauce heat. Each serving of this recipe has only 101 calories.


  • 600 g of clean clams
  • 2 scallion stalks chopped into short lengths
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar


  • 5 deseeded dried red chilies
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of bean sauce
  • 1 cm of peeled fresh ginger


  1. Crush the spice paste into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or a food processor. Set aside for now.
  2. Bring the oil to a simmer in a wok. Stir in the spice paste and cook for a few minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add the clams and spice paste to the wok and mix thoroughly.
  4. Stir in the water and sugar as you add them one at a time.
  5. Open the clams one time and place them all in a serving dish. If you overcook opened clams, they will become rubbery since they don’t all cook simultaneously.
  6. Do not include the clams that have not been opened. Serve the steamed white rice with the chili clams right away.
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