Six ingredients: that's all you need for this addictive dish. Seven, if you're feeling fancy and want to garnish it. So quick, so easy, and so delicious. Make sure to have lots of rice, or bread, or noodles near by to soak up all the juices!
1 lb cockles or clams, rinsed very well
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp finely minced shallot or onion
1 tsp finely minced ginger
1 tbsp Chinese fermented black beans, such as these
A good splash of lager beer (30ml or so, basically a shotglass)
Optional garnish - scallions sliced finely on the diagonal
Carefully pick over the cockles and discard any that remain open when tapped.
In a medium saucepan (for which you have a tightly-fitting lid) heat the vegetable oil over a high flame, then quickly sauté the shallot and ginger, moving them around constantly. Stir in the fermented black beans and continue to fry for about 30 seconds til it all smells very aromatic. Tip in the cockles and the beer, then clamp on the lid and hold it down.
In about 30 seconds, the cockles should have all opened and be just cooked and still tender. Quickly remove into a bowl and garnish as you like (or not), then serve immediately.