Blood Cockles. You either love it or hate it. Both me and my husband loves it. My son eats it too.
My father used to buy 5kg of cockles to make his famous chilled dark soy sauce cockles. Each time he made it, he will bring some over to him. I tried and tried but I just couldn't get the taste of cockles that my father made. He even bought the dark soy sauce to me once but still I just could get the right taste. His is still the best!
I had wanted to try my hands making my father's version of chilled cockles but realised I didn't have dark soy sauce with me. So change of plans. :P
This is (another) replica of what we have tried at Putien Restaurant sometime back. I shall try to conquer my father's revision another time.
Prepare the garlic first by heating oil in pan. Add in chilli and Garlic and stir-fry till fragrant but not browned.
Add in Mirin, Light Soy Sauce and Chicken Powder. If you are using Chinese Cooking Wine, add a pinch of sugar too. Stir to coat well. Let the seasoned garlic cool.
Now, scrub the cockles clean. I used a toothbrush here. Soak clams in salted water to let it 'spit' out sand.
Boil a pot of water enough to cover the cockles. When the water is boiling, turn off fire and throw in all the cockles. Drain them out in 3 seconds.
Place them in cool water or normal tap water and drain. Remove half the shell and any dirt that maybe be there.
Place some seasoned garlic on each cockles and place then on a dish. Chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes. The cockles taste better when chilled but if you can't wait, go ahead to have it immediately.
(note for step 4) I blanched then for 3 seconds here. If the cockles you bought are bigger or if you preferred them more cooked, ie, less bloody, blanch for 5-7 seconds. Anything longer than that, it's likely that will be cooked. (not for step 5) Cool the blanched cockles partially is to stop it from continue cooking and also to make it less hot to while removing the shells.