I wish I could convince more people to cook bi-valves and it’s not just because I love them so much. I hear from nearly every novice cook that they are afraid to cook clams and mussels. They just assume it’s going to be difficult. On the contrary, it’s easier than learning how to cook chicken or pork (in my opinion). The key to all proteins is to NOT over-cook them and clams tell you when they’re done. When they open up, they’re done!

Clams in Black Bean Sauce 2

The only hurdle I can think of is cleaning them well and that’s really easy too. I like to use a sponge and just lightly scrub the outside with cold water. Then submerge them in very cold water (if it’s a hot day, I put ice in the water) and drop a few drops of any oil in. This makes the clams spit out their sand. They clean themselves out! Let them sit for 30 to 40 minutes then rinse them with cold water and drain. Use them immediately. (Mussels require one additional cleaning step.)

…and if you’re not in love with clams already, watch this video of a clam eating salt. (Thanks Angela!) Now, I want a pet clam.

Clams in Black Bean Sauce

Clams with Black Bean Sauce is such a classic Chinese dish. You can order this at most Cantonese restaurants and they usually serve this at dim sum on the weekends. The bean sauce adds a pungent umami richness to the clams. Good alone or on rice. Irresistible!

Clams with Black Bean Sauce
~4 appetizer servings

  • 1 rounded tablespoon black bean garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs clams (little necks or smaller mahogany clams), cleaned
  • 2 teaspoons chopped ginger
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallion
  • 2 teaspoons chopped red chili or jalapeno (optional)

Instructions –

1.In a small bowl, stir together black bean garlic sauce, 1 tablespoon water, and sugar. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a wok on high heat.

3. Add the clams and stir-fry until the clams just starts to open a crack and let’s some liquid out.

4. Add ginger and garlic and stir. Add black bean mixture and stir.

5. Add chilis (if you’re using) and scallion and stir-fry until clams are open all the way (which happens very quickly and some may not open all the way, but the majority will). Serve immediately.

Clams in Black Bean Sauce 3

posted by jessica at 08:46 PM Filed under Chinese, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.