Pipis are small, edible saltwater clams that are endemic to Australia. If you have eaten clams, then pipis taste quite similar though I felt that these are slightly sweeter in comparison.
I enjoy shopping for seafood at farmer’s markets and specialty seafood stores rather than supermarkets because not only do I get my hands on fresh Australian produce but there’s also a wide variety to choose from. These pipis were from Goolwa Pipi Co. that my local seafood store stocks.
Goolwa Pipi Co. is one of my preferred brands to buy pipis from (nope, not sponsored). MSC certified, 100% Australian, harvested in pristine clean water, processed and packed in a state-of-the-art facility……..these are the reasons why I prefer to buy pipis from this brand.
Another advantage of this top notch processing and packaging is that the pipis are super fresh and clean of grit and sand which is very common when bought from many seafood sellers. So I didn’t have to waste much time cleaning the pipis.
If you are not buying from a certified brand like this one, then make sure to ask the fishmonger if the pipis have been purged i.e. stored in aerated saltwater to remove the grit and sand. If not, then you must do the process yourself. Add 30gms salt/litre cold water (adjust based on the quantity of pipis you have) and place the pipis or clams inside for a few hours, preferably overnight. Do not refrigerate as the pipis will close up the shells and not allow the sand and grit to purge out. Instead cover and place in a cool spot of the house.
Another important thing to remember is that it’s best to discard the pipis that have not opened up after cooking. It’s best to be safe than sorry.
Now this might sound like a lot of work but these are such delightful morsels of deliciousness and you will not be sorry for the extra work. And pipis cook super fast so the only time taken is in the prep, the rest of the dish comes together quickly.
The Goolwa Pipi Co. website features a lot of recipes shared by famous Australian chefs. And this Taiwanese style pipis by Chef Viktor Liong (Head chef, Lee Fo Hook) caught my eye. Having had similar dishes at restaurants, I knew this one was definitely a winner.
Very few ingredients but this is an extremely flavourful dish from the combination of fresh ginger, garlic, chillies and herbs. Fingerlick’n good!
And if you like clams, check out these Baked Clams, an English summer classic.
For now, let’s get cooking these delicious Taiwanese style pipis. Perfect at anytime of the year but exceptionally sensational on a warm afternoon with a couple of chilled beers.
- 1 kg pipis
- 75ml Shao xing rice wine
- 6gms fresh ginger; sliced thinly
- For the sauce
- 60ml oyster sauce
- 5gms raw sugar
- ½ tsp freshly milled black pepper
- 75ml pipis cooking liquid
- 60gms spring onions (green part); finely chopped
- 1 long red chilli (medium heat variety); finely chopped with seeds
- 35gms fresh coriander (both stalks and leaves); finely chopped
- 40gms garlic; finely chopped
- 20ml sesame oil
- 30ml vegetable oil
- Salt, to season
- Lemon wedges
- Heat a large saucepan and add the pipis, ginger and rice wine. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes and shake periodically. Remove the pipis as they pop open (all the pipis will not pop open at the same time so keep removing as they do).
- Remove the ginger slices and reserve 75 ml of the cooking liquid.
- In a bowl, mix all the sauce ingredients together.
- Heat vegetable and sesame oil in a large pan or wok. Add half of the chopped garlic and fry on low heat till golden brown and toasty (take care not to burn).
- Then add the remaining chopped garlic along with the prepared sauce; bring to boil.
- Add the cooked pipis along with the rest of the ingredients and toss well to combine. Season with salt only after tasting.
- Serve immediately with lemon wedges.