Inspired by Billy Kwong's mussels in XO and black bean.
1 kg pippies2 tbsp peanut oil3red shallots, quartered5 cloves garlic, crushed40 gm ginger, peeled and thinly sliced lengthways1 tbsp salted black beans (see note) 2 tbsp XO sauce (see note)50 ml Shaoxing wine2 tsp light soy sauce100 ml chicken stock1 tsp sugar2long red chillies, halved lengthways3green onions, cut into 5cm lengthsTo serve:sprigs of coriander
Heat a wok over high heat, add 150ml of water and bring to the boil. Add pippies, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, removing pippies as they open. Drain and reserve.
Heat oil in wok over high heat, add shallots, garlic and ginger and sauté for 2 minutes, add black beans, XO and Shaoxing and simmer for 2 minutes. Add soy, chicken stock and sugar and simmer for another 2 minutes. Add pippies, chilli and green onion, toss to combine and serve garnished with coriander.
Note XO sauce is made from dried seafood such
as scallops and chilli. XO and salted black beans are available
from Asian grocery stores.
While oysters, mussels and scallops receive their fair share
of attention, there's a bevy of other shellfish, too, such as
pippies, cockles and clams, which promise plenty of pleasure on the
plate. These daintier varieties, along with mussels, should be
purchased alive. You can check their condition by tapping any open
shells - they should close immediately. They're sometimes sold
sandless (that is, purged of sand), but if they're not, you'll need
to purge them. Do this by soaking in salted cold water for about an
hour. Discard any shells that don't open during cooking. While
fresh scallops are available to restaurants, they're harder for
home cooks to lay their hands on. Look for examples with plump
flesh and always buy them fresh rather than frozen. If you can't
find shellfish at your local market or fishmonger, give your local
Chinatown a go.