Stir-fried Pipis with Tomato Chilli Sauce
Pipis are found all around the Australian coast and are mainly hand-harvested from the intertidal zone of sandy surf beaches. They are usually stored in fresh water to purge them of sand and grit before they’re sold, but it’s always a good idea to place them in a large bowl of cool water for several hours, at room temperature, so they ‘spit out’ any remaining sand.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1kg pipis, purged (see notes)
1 bunch garlic chives, cut into 5cm lengths
Steamed jasmine rice, to serve
Tomato Chilli Sauce
½ cup tomato ketchup
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon sambal oelek (see notes)
100ml tamarind liquid (see notes)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
Make Tomato Chilli Sauce: combine all ingredients.
Heat a wok, add oil, pipis and Tomato Chilli Sauce, cover and cook for a minute or 2, shaking often, until shells start to open. As each shell opens, remove to a serving bowl.
When all shells have opened, return pipis to the wok, add chives and toss them through.
Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with steamed rice.
Pipis are usually sold ‘purged’ to remove sand and grit, however it’s still a good idea to place them in a large bowl of cool salted water and sea salt (30g salt per litre water) for several hours or overnight, at room temperature, to get rid of any remaining sand (if you refrigerate them they’ll close up and won’t ‘spit out’ the sand). Sambal oelek is an Asian paste of salt and chillies, a quick way to get a chilli kick into any dish, not just Asian ones; substitute 1 small red chilli finely chopped if you prefer. Dried tamarind pulp is sold in blocks at Asian grocery stores. To make tamarind liquid, work 2 tablespoons of tamarind pulp into ½ cup of warm water then strain through a fine sieve, pressing down to remove as much tamarind as possible.
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