This 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
- 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. Rinse the black beans to remove any grit. In a small bowl, mash the black beans with the back of a spoon.
- 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. 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. 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.