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Pipi

Pipis

A marine bivalve mollusc with a smooth wedge-shaped, cream to pale brown shell (sometimes slightly yellow or green and with pinky-purple bands) containing dark (often bluey-purple) meat.

They are found all around the Australian coast and are hand-harvested from the intertidal zone of sandy beaches with good surf (from about 10cm below the surface), mainly south from the NSW/Queensland border to the beginning of the Great Australian Bight in SA.

Other names for the pipi are  beach pipi, clam, coorong cockle, eugarie, goolwa cockle, pippie, and ugari.

Pipis are available year round from SA, with NSW fishery closed from November to May. Meat commonly weighs 8-12g and the shells average 5-6cm (with large specimens around 8cm), with those harvested from SA typically smaller than those from NSW and Victoria. They are low priced.

To Buy

Sold live. Look for brightly coloured, intact, lustrous shells, that are closed or close when tapped or gently squeezed, and a pleasant fresh sea smell.

Due to their sandy habitat they can contain quite a bit of grit, ask your fishmonger if they have been purged (stored in aerated saltwater for at least 24 hours to eliminate sand), if they haven’t been, see purging instructions.

To Store

Pipis should be consumed as soon as possible after purchase. Place in a container, cover with a damp cloth and keep in a cool part of the house (not the refrigerator) for a few hours, or store overnight in salted water (see purging directions Before cooking, discard any shells that are open and don’t close when tapped or gently squeezed. Freeze meat for up to 3 months below -18ºC.

To Cook

If Pipis haven’t been purged, place them in a solution of cool water and sea salt (30g salt to each litre of water) for several hours, or overnight, in a cool part of the house (if you refrigerate them they’ll close up and won’t ‘spit out’ the sand).

Average yield is 20-30%. They have a strong, rich flavour, medium oiliness and moist, firm flesh. Remove from the heat as soon as they open, as they quickly shrivel and become chewy if over cooked.

While traditional wisdom was to discard shells that don’t open when cooked, you can pry them open, away from the plate, and, if they smell good, eat them; if they’re bad, they’ll have a distinctly ‘off’ aroma.

Cooking Methods

Steam, poach, stir-fry, bake, grill, barbecue, smoke, raw (sashimi), pickle. The firm flesh works well in soups, curries and stir-fries. The classic Pipi dish is stir-fried with black bean sauce.

Goes Well With

Strong flavours; Anchovies, chilli, Chinese black beans, coriander, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, tomato, Worcestershire sauce.

Pipi Substitutions

  • Blue Mussels – Sold live. Look for brightly coloured, firm, intact, lustrous shells that are closed or close when tapped or gently squeezed, and a pleasant fresh sea smell. Tiny crabs are sometimes found inside Mussels, they are harmless and do not indicate any problem with the mussel
  • Surf Clams – Sold live. Look for brightly coloured, intact, lustrous shells, that are closed or close when tapped or gently squeezed, and a pleasant fresh sea smell. Due to their sandy habitat they can contain a bit of grit, ask your fishmonger if they have been purged (stored in aerated saltwater for at least 24 hours to eliminate sand), if they haven’t been, see purging instructions.
  • Vongole – Sold live. Look for brightly coloured, intact, lustrous shells, that are closed or close when tapped or gently squeezed, and a pleasant fresh sea smell. Due to their sandy habitat they can contain a bit of grit, ask your fishmonger if they have been purged (stored in aerated saltwater for at least 24 hours to eliminate sand), if they haven’t been, see purging instructions.
  • Nutrition Facts - Mollusks Clam Mixed Species Raw

  • Serving Size100 g
  • Amount per serving
  • Calories86
  • % Daily Value*
  • Total Fat1 g1.28%
  • Saturated Fat0.2 g1%
  • Trans Fat0 g
  • Cholesterol30 mg10%
  • Sodium601 mg26.13%
  • Total Carbohydrate3.6 g1.31%
  • Dietary Fiber0 g0%
  • Total Sugars0 g
  • Protein14.7 g29.4%
  • Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol)0 mcg0%
  • Calcium39 mg3%
  • Iron1.6 mg8.89%
  • Potassium46 mg0.98%
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)0 mg0%
  • Phosphorus198 mg28.29%

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