Friday, December 21

Malaysian Black Pepper Clams

The cold weather had me craving a warm bowl of steamed clams, so I decided to use this recipe for a Malaysian black pepper version. The manilas I used are much smaller than other types of clams, but I love their colorful shells and delicate flavor and texture. They get quickly steamed in a little water and then tossed with a sweet-spicy-tangy sauce and topped with bright fresh herbs. Make sure to have a lot of toasted crusty bread on hand for mopping up the sauce - we nearly went through a whole loaf!

Malaysian Black Pepper Clams:
  • Place 2 lbs. of manila clams* in a colander and run under very cold water for 5 minutes, or until clams have released all their grit and sand.
  • Meanwhile, mix 2 tbsp. soy sauce, 2 tsp. oyster sauce,** 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1 tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper, and the juice of 1 large lime in a bowl.
  • Heat 2 tbsp. canola oil in a large pot and add in 2 tbsp. minced garlic and 2 tbsp. minced ginger.
  • Cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant but not brown, then add in the clams.
  • Pour 1/4 c. water into the pot and cover with a lid.
  • Allow the clams to steam open for 5 minutes, then uncover and turn off  the heat.***
  • Immediately stir in the soy sauce mixture and 2 tbsp. butter until melted.
  • Divide clams into bowls and top each with a handful of cilantro and torn basil leaves.
  • Serve with bread for dipping.

Serves two (main course)
Serves four - six (appetizer)
*If you can't find manilas, any variety of clams will do but cooking times may vary.
**Available in the Asian section of most grocery stores.
***If you listen carefully, you will actually be able to hear the clams opening. Wait til the majority of clams have opened, then discard any that didn't.