clams with black bean sauce

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clams with black bean sauceThis classic Cantonese dish of stir-fried clams is a standard for any Chinatown restaurant that prides itself on its seafood. The fermented black beans, a favorite Chinese accompaniment for shellfish, add an intense, salty flavor, while the zing of fresh ginger balances out the earthy sauce. If you’d like to create a complete meal with other Cantonese favorites, try serving with Wonton Soup, Chinese Steamed Fish with Ginger and Scallions, and Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 1½ pounds littleneck or Manila clams
  • 2 tablespoons fermented black beans
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1½ teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 0.33 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • special equipment
  • Wok with lid
How to Make It
  1. 1. Rinse and scrub the clams under cold water, changing the water several times, to remove any grit. Discard any open clams that don’t close when tapped. Drain the clams in a colander and gently wipe them dry with paper towels. (This will prevent hot oil from spitting when you add the clams to the wok.)
  2. 2. Rinse the black beans to remove any grit. In a small bowl, mash the black beans with the back of a spoon.
  3. 3. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add the peanut oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the black beans, chili sauce, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the clams and stir-fry for another minute. Add the rice wine to release the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. 4. Pour in the chicken stock, cover, and allow the clams to steam for 5 to 6 minutes (4 to 5 minutes for Manila clams). Uncover the wok. The shells should now be fullyopen; discard any clams whose shells are still closed. Transfer the clams to a serving platter.
  5. 5. Allow the broth to simmer for another 1 to 2 minutes to reduce and thicken a bit more. Stir in the scallions before turning off the heat. Ladle the sauce over the clams and serve.

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