chilli clams

Photographer: 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.