Stir fry Lala in Spicy Bean Sauce is a perennial favorite prepared restaurant style with less empty shells and better sauce coverage.
Stir fry Lala in Spicy Bean Sauce was a childhood favorite and remains so to this day. Sadly, this type of clams is not available here. I have not seen it at the Asian markets. A such, this is one of the dishes I made a point to cook when I visited Malaysia recently. These pictures were taken with my cell phone in my brother’s kitchen in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
What is Lala?
Lala is a type of clam found in Malaysia. They belong to a large family of salt water clams with the common name Venus clams. Lala is specifically known as Textile Venus Clams because of its distinct weave pattern. Their shells are relatively thin as compared to other clams, and it doesn’t take much to crush them.
If you wish to try this dish but can’t find this specific type of clams, Little Neck and Short Neck clams may be used as a substitute.
How To Clean and Prepare Lala For Best Results?
The most common way of preparing lala is to soak it in water for 20 to 30 minutes to allow it to release the grit trapped inside the clam. Then, rinse it thoroughly and drain in a colander. More often than not, the grit is exchanged with water. When cooked, the water is released into the dish diluting the sauce. Worst still if you have a dead clam filled with mud!
According to my brother, restaurants usually blanch the lala and remove one half of the shell where the meat is not attached to. I thought the tip made a lot of sense and so I gave it a try and was very pleased with the results. It took a bit of work but the blanched clams were clean (no grit) and dry. The final dish also had half the shells that would otherwise be there, making it easier to enjoy the tasty meat coated with spicy bean sauce.
Similar Products Used in Making This Lala in Spicy Bean Sauce
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Traditional Heavy Gauge Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok (14 inch, round bottom)
Traditional Carbon Steel Wok, Hand Hammered (14 inch, round bottom)
Carbon Steel Hand Hammered 14 inch Flat Bottom Wok (Gauge – 1.2mm)
Carbon Steel Wok 12-inch, flat bottom
Traditional Hand Hammered Carbon Steel Pow Wok (12 inch, rRound bottom)
Lala in Spicy Bean Sauce
- 2¼ lbs lala (textile venus clams) (1 kg)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp fermented soy beans (minced)
- 3 red chilies (seeded and minced)
- 1½ inch ginger (peeled and minced) (45g)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- Rinse and soak lala (textile venus clams) in water for 30 minutes to allow them to release as much grit trapped inside the clam. Drain.
- Bring a large wok of water to a boil. Add lala and blanch for 1 minute. The lala should open up and whatever remaining grit inside the shell will drop into the boiling water. Transfer blanched lala with a strainer into a bowl. Discard the water and rinse the wok.
- When cool enough to handle, separate and remove one half of the shell where the meat is not attached to.
- Heat vegetable oil in the wok. Add spice paste and stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes until fragrant.
- Stir in the sugar and add the prepared lala. Continue to stir fry for another 2 minutes until lala is heated through and coated with sauce. Turn off stove. Transfer to a serving dish.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with steamed rice.
I enjoyed this dish so much that I cooked it twice in Kuala Lumpur. If only I can find these Textile Venus Clams here…