chilli clams
29th November 2011

chilli clams

By Kurt Photography by Adam

There is a little coastal town about half an hour north of where we live, perched right on the edge of the pacific ocean. One of these little New Zealand places where locals swear by the lifestyle; surfing, fishing or just sitting back enjoying the view.

My wife and I love to regularly make the trip north to this little coastal community, to visit friends, enjoy the weather (I really think it is at least a couple of degrees warmer up there) and of course collect the beautifully sweet little clams that live in the Warrington inlet.

We wander through the old pine trees and make our way across the mud flats to the low tide mark, where we eagerly scrape our hands through the muddy seabed to collect the little clams.
Meanwhile, our friends’ little girl searches for baby crabs. She carefully picks them from the seabed, taking great delight in showing us every little crab she catches.

Usually we just wack a big pot of pasta on the boil, chuck some clams in a pan with a little garlic and white wine and steam them open. For this post though, I thought I might try steaming the clams with beer. I am right into beer at the moment – there are so many great micro breweries popping up all over the place. So for this recipe why not try one of your favourite beers.

A little tip, so you don’t get a gritty dinner, if you can wait, it is best to leave the clams in a bucket of seawater overnight so they spit out all their sand.


  • --
  • Littleneck Clams (cockles) 12 per person (or as many as you like)
  • Tiger prawn tails 2-3 per person
  • 1 small chilli diced finely
  • 1/2 a pepper diced finely
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2cm of ginger finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion sliced finely
  • 1 bottle of lager
  • Handful of coriander roughly chopped
  • Udon noodles 200 grams per person
  • 1-2 limes
  • Canola oil


  • --
  • 1. Coat the base of a pot (big enough to hold all the clams) with oil. Fry off the garlic, ginger, peppers and spring onion.
  • 2. Add the clams to the pot and stir. Pour the beer over the clams and bring to a steady simmer cover the pot with a lid and steam the clams.
  • 3. Once all the clams have opened remove them from the pot and set aside. Add the udon noodles to the broth and simmer gently for 2-3 minutes. Make sure the noodles are completely covered in broth during cooking if there is not enough broth add a little boiling water. Place the shrimp in with the udon during the last minute of cooking (cook until pink)
  • 4. Serve out a portion of the udon in a warmed shallow bowl or small cast iron pan, place clams and prawns on top, ladle hot broth over the top, sprinkle with coriander and finish with a couple of lime wedges.


    1. Genie

      This looks divine. Love how you chose to use udon – much quicker to prepare than pasta. Every extra minute counts when you are cooking in holiday mode (or on a camping stove).

    2. Craig

      Gorgeous recipe and photography! What camera do you use? Definately will make this recipe for my partner :)

    3. Shane

      Love the sound of it and especially like the idea of collecting the main ingredient. Will enjoy the collecting at the weekend with the kids. It will be interesting to see if they will expand their culinary taste into the unknown.
      I’ll be watching out for a Yabbie dish to come :-)

    4. Kurt

      Thanks Shane, it was a great weekend to go collecting – finally summertime down here. Hope the Yabbie collecting is going well, I have never cooked them before – will have to do some research

    5. Kurt

      Hi Craig
      Thanks for the kind words – we use a D90 Nikon the food snaps and I just used my little canon point and shoot for the pictures of us collecting clams.

    6. Kurt

      Thanks Genie
      Yes udon are a great quick alternative to pasta when you are cooking down at the beach, and the texture of udon goes perfectly with the nice hot silky clam broth.

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