Steamed Cockles with Garlic

Steamed Cockles with Garlic & Chilli Recipe

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I love cockles or better known as “see hum” locally. They are also known as blood cockles because of the presence of red hamoglobin liquid inside the shells. Some find it gross, but not me –  I loveeeee them. They are added in local dishes like char kway teow, satay bee hoon & laksa and I simply love fishing for the very few prized see hum in the dish.

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It’s usually not enough to satisfy my craving, so once in a while, I made a whole dish of it by steaming cockles in lots of garlic, accompanied with sliced chilli for some heat. You can make this restaurant-quality dish too at the fraction of the price, for these clams are incredibly cheap locally (I bought a 1kg bag at the local supermarket for S$2) – definitely worth the time and effort to make at home.

Steamed Cockles with Garlic & Chilli Recipe

My friend told me that cockles are high in iron, so they are beneficial for many women or those with anemia.  This is something I indulged it once in a while, and since I’m the only one in the family who likes these cockles, I have the satisfaction of having the whole plate all to myself.Cockles

Steamed Cockles with Garlic Recipe

You can enjoy this dish as a cold appetizer dish: cook this in advanced and refrigerate the cooked plate of cockles until ready to serve.


  • 400g cockles (aka blood cockles, “see hum“)
  • boiling water
  • chopped spring onions
  • salt

(A) Garlic Mixture (mix well in a small bowl)

  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • a dash of white pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1 chilli padi sliced thinly; most seeds removed; to taste


  • A heat-proof saucepan or container with lid (I use a microwave rice cooker)
  • hard bristles kitchen brush


  1. Wash cockles by scrubbing them with a hard bristles brush, drain and place them inside a heat-proof container or saucepan. Pour boiling water until enough to cover the cockles. Cover with lid. After 2 minutes, carefully drain the hot water.
  2. Open the shells, leaving each cockle on half shell.  Dip each half-shelled cockle in a bowl of cold water to shake off any excess dirt or sand.
  3. Arrange half-shelled cockles one layer on a steaming plate. Spoon the garlic mixture (A) over the top of the cockles.
  4. Prepare steamer. When water in the steamer is boiling, place the plate of cockles in the steamer and steam at high heat, covered, for 3 minutes. Garnish with chopped spring onions.