Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kam Heong Lala

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As I mentioned earlier, there is this Masak Masak Challenge going on. And this time, the theme is to budget food for 4 adults not exceeding S$15. Well, at times like this, with food prices going up, it does help to exercise some budget planning. I actually wanted to do a one dish meal for this challenge but when I passed by the seafood stall, the Lalas are beckoning to me. A quick calculation to make sure that it is within the budget, I got myself a kilogram of it for S$3. Quite cheap one might say but consider most of the money goes to the shell. Photobucket

I have always wondered why Lalas are being called Lalas. This shellfish is a clam but I do not know the actual name for it. We Teochews called it 白仔 which is even more strange. Anyways, I usually cook this with some chilli, Thai basil and bean paste (豆酱), or just dump them in soups. Although they would make rather nice stock as they are sweet and flavourful but it will turn the soup rather milky in colour. Some time back, I blog hop to Sweet Jasmine's and found another way to cook it. What does the name of the dish mean? I am still trying to figure out. Ever wonder how I jot down recipes? I do not print them out. I usually write them on a cue card.

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Very simplified, right? I usually group the ingredients that are use in the same step or required the same attention together. It is easier for me to work this way. So thanks Jasmine for the recipe! It's a change for me actually. I seldom attempt recipes that require curry powder. It makes me sneeze alot. Do not laugh when I say I had to use a wet hanky to cover my nose while I cook this (I have no mask). I think I might really need one when I attempt my first curry chicken. I do make a mean Japanese curry though. Perhaps curry cubes are different?

To prepare the Lalas, soak them in a basin of water before cooking. Add some salt to the water. How to know if the Lalas are alive? I will try to pry open the shells (do not overdo it, you'll kill them before they make it to the wok). If it is clammed shut, it is still alive. I much prefer this preparation then discarding them when they do not open after cooking. Sometimes, due to the size of the Lala, the bigger ones might need longer time to open and the heat in the wok might not be evely distributed. This way, it ensures that every clam that goes to the wok is edible.

Kam Heong Lala
Ingredients
2 Tbsp Dried Shrimps, soaked, drained and chopped
1 Tbsp Garlic, chopped
1/4 Red Onion, peeled and chopped
1 cm thick Ginger, minced

1 Red Chilli, chopped
3 Sprigs Curry Leaves, washed
1 Tsp Fish Curry Powder mixed with 1 Tbsp Water

Some Olive Oil
Salt to taste
100ml Water
1kg Lala, soaked, scrubbed clean and drained

Method
1) In a wok, heat up oil, add in dried shrimps, garlic, onions and ginger. Fry till fragrant.

2) Add in curry leaves, curry paste and chilli and fry till fragrant. Add in Lalas and stir fry for a minute.

3) Add in salt to taste and water. Cover lid, turn heat on high and cook for 2 minutes or till all the Lalas open their shells.

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The total damage for this meal excluding rice is S$9.90.

Time to start your budget planning? じゃね~~

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