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the world's largest religious monument built in the 12th century
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Chhar Liah
Fried Freshwater Clams

Chhar Liah Samott
Fried Marine clams

This brings back memories from my childhood when I enjoyed sun-cooked freshwater clams, 'liah haal'  served with spicy green mango salad. This popular street food snack is sold during hot summer days from mobile carts (see photo below).

However, this recipe is an alternative way of cooking the clams when hot sun is not available. These freshwater clams are succulent, tender, sweet and also perfect for stir-frying as they don't turn rubbery even if they are over-cooked.

It can be eaten as a snack on its own or served with steamed rice for a more substantial meal.

Liah Haal
Sun-cooked Freshwater Clams

Did you know …
Surprisingly, clams have a higher iron contents than beef liver and steak. For example, nine marine clams reportedly contain as much as 24 mg of iron – which is more than the recommended daily intake of most adults.

Clams are also said to contain omega-3 fatty acids. Although they are not formally dietary recommended for omega-3, if you’re tired of eating oily fish, clams can introduce some variety in your diet.  



Serves 4 


Liah (fresh water clams)1 450g (1 lb)  
Vegetable oil 3 Tbsp
Fresh ginger 5 cm (2 inch), peeled, finely julienned (matchstick sizes)
Spring onions (scallions) 2, chopped into 2.5 cm (1 inch) pieces – separate white part from the green
Red finger chilli 1, sliced into rings (deseed for a less spicy taste)
Chicken stock or water ¼ cup (use dry sherry or white wine instead, if desired)
Chi neang vorng (Thai basil) 10 leaves for garnish 

Green mango salad - see recipe (optional)

Oyster sauce or soy sauce 1 Tbsp
Sea salt ½ tsp
Sugar 1 tsp
Rice vinegar or cider vinegar 1 tsp


1 - Soak the clams in water for at least ½ hour so they will spit out grits. Rinse the clams under running water, discard any with broken shells and those that don’t close when lightly tapped on a hard surface. Soak in cold water for about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. 

2 - Heat the oil in a wok over medium high heat until very hot, add ginger and the white part of the spring onions (scallions), and then stir-fry for a few seconds until fragrant. Then add half of the chilli and the clams. Add all the seasoning ingredients and stir-fry to coat. Then add the chicken stock (or dry sherry), cover and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the clams have opened. 

3 -Then add the green part of the spring onions (scallions), the rest of the chilli and stir-fry for a few seconds to mix. Remove from heat. Transfer to a dish, garnish with the  basil leaves. This dish pairs well with mango salad. Serve with steamed rice . 

If not available, you can use marine clams, Manila clams, mussels or cockles instead.

            Freshwater Clams

Liah Samott
Marine Clams