Addictive Spanish Steamed Garlic Clams (Almejas al Ajillo)

Our fate with clams was sealed when we went to Sentosa for our staycation last year. We spent a couple of days at the Sofitel Resort and had dinner at Sabio by The Sea, Tapas Bar & Grill – a Spanish themed restaurant that serves up authentic Spanish dishes. The lady serving us recommended the clams, and made sure that we had with it a basket of crusty bread so that we could soak up with the sauce with these bread. After that round of dinner, the guy and I became converts of this dish and had never looked back since.

And that coming from me – a person who doesn’t fancy seafood a lot, especially crustaceans and shellfish – is groundbreaking. I usually leave these creatures alone because that little piece of meat in between the shells usually look to me to be uninteresting, unappetising and bland. This dish, however, was addictive. They probably put in some (or lots of?) MSG for all I know, but what really matters was that none of us could stop reaching out for more. And we were actuall fighting with each other for that last piece of clam, and stealing the remaining crust from the bread basket to soak up the sauce. It was amazing. Life changing. Delicious!

Buttery. Garlicky. Savoury. All the wonderful flavours combined in a pot. Imagine that.

So after that evening, I told myself I need to try making this amazing dish at home myself, to unlock all the secrets behind this dish. And this is exactly what I’m doing here, learning its magic and sharing this wonderful recipe with all of my readers. Make sure to try this at home soon. I am sure you will be equally wowed by it as much as we did!


  • Clam: 1kg (about 100 pieces)
  • Salted butter: 170g
  • Garlic: 15, finely chopped
  • Shallot: 3, finely chopped
  • White wine: 3 cups
  • Water: 3 cups
  • Chicken stock cube: 1
  • Salt: 1/3 tsp
  • Ground blackpepper: 1/2 tsp
  • Lemon juice: 1/2 lemon
  • Whipping cream: 1.5 cups
  • Parsley: one stalk, finely chopped
  • Crusty bread: to serve with


  1. Soak clams in salted water for 15min. Rinse and clean a few times to rid of the sand.
  2. Melt butter in wok. Saute garlic and shallots till fragrant.
  3. Add in white wine, water and chicken stock cube. Season with salt and blackpepper. Leave to simmer for 1min.
  4. Add in clams and squeeze lemon juice in. Cover with lid to steam for 5min, or till clams are fully open. Remove and discard clams that are still closed.
  5. Stir in whipping cream.
  6. Scoop into serving bowls. Garnish with parsley.
  7. Serve with crusty bread.


  • If freezing fresh clams, make sure to open up all the clams first before freezing. Otherwise, you will have a problem cooking them and getting them to open up when they are cooked as clams can only open up while they are still alive.

  • Clams are best eaten while they are fresh. If they do not open up when cooked, they are definitely bad or damaged and should be thrown away immediately. Don’t even try to open them up – you will be put off by how bad they are!

3 persons

Share This!
    This entry was posted in Seafood, Spanish and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *