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Thai Basil Clams


Thai Basil Clams

Thai Basil Clams

S. Wongkaew

Thai Basil Clams may not seem too Australian but it certainly is a popular dish served at many a Thai restaurant. The clams also known as "pipis" are stir-fried with Thai basil and a delicious sauce of garlic, Thai fish sauce and roasted chili paste.

The sweet, briny clam liquor fused with the sauce is absolutely delicious and especially when it's soaked up with some steamed rice.

It is important to cook this dish over a flame and not a hot plate as it requires a quick burst of heat. I also recommend using a wok as it's easier to handle when cooking Asian stir-fry dishes.


  • 30 live clams
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 red bird chili's, cut in half lengthways
  • 2-3 tbs of roasted chili paste
  • 1 Tbsp of sugar
  • 2 Tbsp of water
  • 1 1/2 cups of Thai basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp of fish sauce
  • Special equipment -- a wok
  • 1 1/2 cupf of Jasmine rice


  1. Rinse the clams well and soak them in cold water for 10 minutes. Drain the clams.
  2. Wash and strain the rice. Place it in a pot with scant 3 cups of water. Bring it to the boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes and then remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Add the peanut oil to the wok and swirl to coat the surface. Heat the wok over a medium flame.
  4. Add the garlic and chilis and fry for a 20 seconds. Next, add the roasted chili paste and 1 Tbsp of water. Add the sugar and stir mixture well to combine ingredients.
  5. Add the clams to the wok and stir with a wooden spoon to coat them in the sauce.
  6. Turn flame up high and stir fry for about a minute. Cover the clams with a large lid and reduce flame to a medium heat.
  7. Fry clams for another 20-30 seconds. Uncover and stir or shake the wok to ensure the chili mixture coats the clams.
  8. When the clams begin to open, uncover them and turn up the heat. Add 2 Tbsp of water.
  9. Add the basil leaves and stir well.
  10. Once the clams are opened, remove from the heat. They generally take about 4 minutes or so to cook.
  11. Serve clams with rice to soak up the delicious sauce.
  12. Discard any clams that haven't opened.
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