Cockles and Ginger Soup

This simple cleansing recipe is my grandmother’s. It was she who introduced me, aged five, to all the culinary delights of homemade Chinese food. She loved to cook us a feast and she would send my grandfather on his moped to the local market to select the freshest ingredients. My grandfather, moaning and cursing, would go off, but we all think he secretly enjoyed it. He was known to the local farmers and traders and always came home boasting that he’d struck a bargain!

This one doesn’t require much seasoning; the cockles provide sweetness and the ginger gives a little heat. Salt, pepper and plenty of cilantro is just enough.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes


  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 7 oz fresh cockles, shells washed
  • in piece fresh ginger, peeled, cut into matchsticks
  • handful of cilantro, stems and leaves, roughly chopped
  • salt and ground white pepper


  1. Heat a pan over high heat, fill with boiling water and bring to the boil.

    Add the cockles and ginger and cook until all the shells are open.

  2. Season the soup with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sprinkle in the cilantro and serve.