Garlic and Chilli Cockles – 蒜香伴血蚶

This spicy-garlicky dish will have you slurping the rich ‘hum’ juices and licking your fingers for more! For most of us Singaporeans, we can get these boiled cockles at the hawker centre, having fun prying and picking them open, and dipping them in punchy sambal belacan sauce. Cockles have long had a bad reputation of being the harbinger of hepatitis, but with the proper handling and thorough cooking, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about! They are also known to be high in iron and great for people with anemia.

Our version presents these cockles on a half-shell, topped off with a rich chilli and garlic sauce, with Shaoxing wine adding a touch of luxury to the dish. It can be enjoyed as a warm or cold dish, to which you prefer. It is important to remember to soak the clams in salted water to purge them of any sand, no one likes a gritty cockle!

#themeatmensg #simple #delicious

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  • Servings: 4

  • Time: 30 mins

  • Skill: Easy


  1. 500g cockles

  2. ½ tsp salt

  3. 2 litres boiling water

  4. 1 stalk spring onion

  5. 2 red chillies (deseeded and minced)

  6. 2 chilli padis

  7. 2 tbsp oil

  8. 2 tsp sesame oil

  9. 40g minced garlic

  10. 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine

  11. 1 tbsp light soya sauce

  12. ½ tbsp fish sauce

  13. 1 tbsp white vinegar

  14. ¼ tsp sugar

  15. ⅛ tsp white pepper

  16. ¼ tsp chicken stock powder

  17. 2 calamansi limes


  1. Scrub cockles with a brush and rinse several times until it’s clean. Cover with enough water. Sprinkle ½ tsp salt over it. Leave it for one hour in the fridge. This is for the cockles ‘spit out’ sand or mud.

  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil and 2 tsp sesame oil on medium heat.

  3. Add minced garlic and chillies. Stir fry until fragrant

  4. Turn off heat. Add 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine, 1 tbsp light soya sauce, ½ tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp white vinegar, ¼ tsp sugar, ⅛ tsp white pepper, ¼ tsp chicken stock powder and juice from 2 calamansi limes. Set aside in a bowl for the flavours to develop.

  5. Boil water in a wok

  6. Boil cockles for 7 to 10 minutes. This depends on the size of the cockles and how cooked you want it to be.

  7. Drain and using a spoon, pry open the cockles. Discard the top shell. Arrange the cockles in the half shell on a platter.

  8. Spoon the garlic and chilli dressing over the cockles.

  9. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge for a cold dish.

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