Skill level

Average: 4.3 (6 votes)


  • 14 large (about 1kg) clams (see Note), purged
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) buttermilk
  • 50 g (⅔ cup) yellow masa flour (see Note) or plain flour
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable oil, to deep-fry

Red hot sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 long red chillies, seeded, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 185 ml (¾ cup) white vinegar
  • 400 g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp white sugar

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make hot sauce, heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add chillies, garlic and onion, and cook for 4 minutes or until golden. Stir in vinegar, tomatoes, sugar and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook for 6 minutes or until softened. Cool slightly, then blend in a blender until puréed. Set aside.

Place clams in a saucepan with 60 ml cold water. Cover, bring to the boil and cook for 4 minutes or until clams open. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, remove from shells and drain on paper towel.

Place buttermilk in a bowl. Combine flour, cayenne pepper and ½ teaspoon of salt in a separate bowl. Dip clams into buttermilk, shaking off excess, then coat in flour mixture; pressing to ensure clams are well coated.

Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Working in 3 batches, fry clams, turning halfway, for 1½ minutes or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Serve with hot sauce.



• Purge clams by washing in cold water 3 times. Pull clams out of the water rather than straining to avoid pouring dislodged sand and grit back over clams. Place in a bowl of cold water with 75 g rock salt for 2 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse under running water.

• Substitute cryovacked pre-packed blanched clams, from fishmongers, for fresh clams.

• Masa flour, available from Fireworks Foods ( and selected delis, is a fine flour made from corn.

As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 15, pg80.

Photography by Brett Stevens