Belacan Clams


1 Kg (~2 ½ lb) fresh clams.
120 ml (1/2 cup) peanut or vegetable oil.
60 ml (4 Tbsp) chillie paste (variable)
2 tsp Belacan ( dried shrimp paste)
1 tbsp sugar
3 kalamansi limes, juiced. [Substitute Kaffir or ordinary limes)
45 – 60 ml (3 – 4 Tbsp) water 
1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp water as a slurry
1 small red-onion
5-6 shallots
3 stalks of lemongrass, thinly sliced
25 mm ( ~1 in) fresh galangal, sliced.


  • Grind the onion, shallots, lemongrass and galangal into a paste using either a pestle and mortar or a blender.
  • Wash the clams under running cold water and drain.
  • Heat oil in a wok over a high flame, add the ground paste, chillie paste, belacan and sugar.
  • Stir-fry until the oil starts to appear around the edges or a sheen appears on the surface. Be careful not to burn the paste.
  • Quickly add the clams, the lime juice and the water. Stir- fry well to coat the contents.
  • Cover the wok and cook briefly until the clams open.
  • Remove cover, add the cornstarch slurry and stir well to mix and coat. You may like to add some salt at this stage by your own preference.
  • Serve immediately.