Rica rica clams


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia

Fire Islands

By Eleanor Ford

Published 2019

  • About

Rica rica is a spicy signature of Sulawesi. The ‘c’ is pronounced ‘ch’ as in chilli. And chillies are a key component, though I tend to make these clams hot rather than incendiary. Do add an extra bird’s eye chilli to the spice paste if you like; Minahasan people would approve.


  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) clams, cleaned
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 lime leaves
  • bunch of spring onions (scallions), chopped
  • lime juice, to taste

Bumbu spice paste

  • 4 large red chillies, mostly seeded
  • 4 small red Asian shallots, peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • thumb of ginger, peeled
  • juice of a lime
  • ½ teaspoon salt


Soak the clams in well salted water for 20 minutes to remove any grit.

Meanwhile, make the bumbu spice paste. Roughly chop all the aromatics and put them in a food processor or high-speed blender with the lime juice and salt. Whizz together to make a rough paste.

Heat the oil in a lidded pan and scrape in the bumbu. Fry, stirring often, until fragrant and it has lost the harsh raw edge. Toss through the tomatoes, lime leaves and spring onions and cook for a couple of minutes more.

Add the clams, clamp on the lid and cook, shaking the pan occasionally. After 2-3 minutes the clams should have opened; discard any that do not. Taste the sauce and add salt and lime juice to taste.