Stir-Fried Clams in Black Bean Sauce

Stir-Fried Fresh Clams in Black Bean Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Clams seem to go hand-in-hand with summer, and we have gone way too long on this blog without dishes involving bivalves! These clams with black bean sauce were so good–I know Judy has a particular weakness for them. We haven’t had a good black bean recipe yet either so this should cover at least two omissions in our collection.

We used manila clams for this recipe, which were quite small (about 25 to 30 per pound) but are beautiful and sweet. They are perfect for stir-fried dishes like this one that can serve as appetizers, as one dish of many served family style or just served with some white rice as a main dish. As for the clams, you can also use Cherrystone or Littleneck clams, which are a bit larger but more common in North America and also delicious.

(Aug 23, 2014 update on buying fresh clams from reader feedback – Thanks to Paula for catching that!)

A very important part of cooking with clams is buying fresh ones so here are a few quick and essential tips on ensuring you start this recipe off on the right foot!

  1. Make sure you buy clams from a good fish monger or a place that moves a lot of seafood.  If possible, choose a vendor with live tanks  as it helps to keep the clams alive and cleans the sand out of them and you’ll have a better chance of getting them fresh and live.
  2.  Make sure all of the clams are closed tight or close when touched which means they are alive. Closed clams do not ensure they are alive but you can pick them out during the cooking process.  Also, use your nose and smell before you buy! They should smell sweet and should not have any strong fishy odor.
  3. It’s best to store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them in the wax bag that the fish monger usually gives you.  You should buy and use them the same day if possible and it’s best not to let them sit for more than overnight

Once you get the fresh, live clams, it’s a quick and easy dish to make, so let’s get this party started.

Stir-Fried Fresh Clams in Black Bean Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh clams, scrubbled/washed thoroughly
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 4 slices ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 scallion, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 long green pepper, sliced (you can seed the peppers if you like)
  • 1 long red pepper, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water, mixed into a slurry
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Stir-Fried Fresh Clams in Black Bean Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Before you do anything, make sure that your clams are washed thoroughly.

Stir-Fried Fresh Clams in Black Bean Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

When your ingredients have been prepared and you’re ready to cook, heat the oil in your wok over high heat. Add the ginger and allow it to caramelize (about 20 seconds), taking care not to burn it.

Stir-Fried Fresh Clams in Black Bean Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Next, add the garlic, scallion, peppers and fermented black beans, and stir fry the mixture for about 10 seconds. Add the clams. Pour in the Shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok, and immediately cover it.

Stir-Fried Fresh Clams in Black Bean Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Stir-Fried Fresh Clams in Black Bean Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Cook until the clams begin to open. At this point, the liquid in the wok should be boiling and generating steam when the wok is covered. The time for the clams to cook and open up depends upon the size and type of the clams you are using and how hot you can get your stove. Once a good number of them have opened, remove the cover and give everything a stir.

Stir-Fried Fresh Clams in Black Bean Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Stir in the sugar, sesame oil, pepper. Discard any of the clams that didn’t open. Now taste the sauce. If it’s not salty enough, you can add a little bit of soy sauce. Once your satisfied with the flavor of the sauce, add about half of the corn starch slurry to the liquid in the wok and stir. Add more slurry if needed to further thicken the sauce.  Discard any clams that have not opened because it probably means they are dead – better safe than sorry!

Stir in the chopped cilantro and gently stir the mixture so the sauce coats the clams. Serve immediately.

Stir-Fried Fresh Clams in Black Bean Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Stir-Fried Fresh Clams in Black Bean Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

Stir-Fried Fresh Clams in Black Bean Sauce by thewoksoflife.com

 

Stir-Fried Clams in Black Bean Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds fresh clams, scrubbled/washed thoroughly
2 tablespoons oil
4 slices ginger
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 scallion, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 long green pepper, sliced (you can seed the peppers if you like)
1 long red pepper, sliced
1 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon soy sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water, mixed into a slurry
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Before you do anything, make sure that your clams are washed thoroughly. There's nothing more unpleasant than finding sand in your food. When your ingredients have been prepared and you're ready to cook, heat the oil in your wok over high heat. Add the ginger and allow it to caramelize (about 20 seconds), taking care not to burn it.

Next, add the garlic, scallion, peppers and fermented black beans, and stir fry the mixture for about 10 seconds. Add the clams. Pour the Shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok, and immediately cover the wok. Cook until the clams begin to open. At this point, the liquid in the wok should be boiling and generating steam when the wok is covered. The time for the clams to cook and open up depends upon the size and type of the clams you are using and how hot you can get your stove. Once a good number of them have opened, remove the cover and give everything a stir.

Stir in the sugar, sesame oil, pepper. Discard any of the clams that didn't open. Now taste the sauce. If it's not salty enough, you can add a little bit of soy sauce. Once your satisfied with the flavor of the sauce, add about half of the corn starch slurry to the liquid in the wok and stir. Add more slurry if needed to further thicken the sauce.

Stir in the chopped cilantro and gently stir the mixture so the sauce coats the clams.

Serve immediately.

http://thewoksoflife.com/2014/08/stir-fried-clams-black-bean-sauce/

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    This looks SO good!! My family likes clams and I have one son who would consider this a real treat. I need to make this. Pinning right now, and if you have a free moment, I would love it if you would link it up with us at Foodie Fridays!!

  2. FoodGeekGraze says

    i am ever so appreciative and always so very excited by you and your family’s offerings. my kitchen adventures from other sources continue to be influenced by the things i learn of here. perfectly captured images. crazy yummy recipes. 5star take me to school moments. love love love. please share this with the rest of your family, bill. thank you!!! cheers ~

    • says

      Hi FoodGreekGraze,
      Thanks for your kinds words and I think you have already shared the love since all of us read all our reader’s comments! :-)

  3. says

    We’re going to the coast in a couple of weekends and I’ve been thinking about how I want to serve clams…. I usually trend toward Italian flavors with them, but this looks so much more interesting! I’m going to try it! I’ve got some fermented black beans in the cupboard. Thanks for great inspiration :)

  4. says

    This looks colorful and delicious! I found your recipe over at the Two Cup Tuesday link party.  I host Tickle My Tastebuds Tuesday and would love it if you would come over and share this recipe.  I’m sure our party goers would love it!  Here is the link http://bit.ly/1kRX8Tm.  Have a wonderful day!

  5. says

    Ate something very similar to this by the absolute boatload this summer… Wondering what you guys used to sop up the delicious juiciness? I dipped bread in there. You guys?

    • says

      Hi Francesca,
      Great to hear because we really believe in seasonal eating! For the sauce, we always make sure we have enough rice to pour the lovely pepper, garlic, black bean sauce over. It’s a great finisher to the meal like the dipping bread! Another great method we learned while here in China is to use al dente cooked noodles to swish into the mixture. Make sure these noodles are warm and NOT rinsed so they are a little sticky and they really soak up the sauce – sooo good!

  6. says

    Wow, another great dish from your multi-talented family! I saw the pic at Foodie Fridays and knew immediately it was yours.
    I love clams and this sauce looks so flavourful. Thanks for a fabulous recipe!

  7. Paula says

    Wow, these photos are mouth-watering. I bet it tastes amazing. Unfortunately, there’re lots of folks who don’t realize that clams should be alive right before we cook them because they spoil quickly. And it’s difficult for a regular person to tell whether clams they are buying are dead or alive. I’ve been doing a little research on that subject and here’s what I found: http://www.listonic.com/protips/get/okahfwmmwe. In short, when buying hard-shell clams, they need to be tightly closed. Anyways, thanks for sharing this great recipe!

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