• 35 oz. clams, in their shells
  • 3 tbsps cooking oil
  • 2-½ tbsps fermented black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsps finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1-½ fresh red chiles, cut into thin diagonal slices
  • 3 tbsps finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 tbsps Shaosing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp potato starch
  • 2 tbsps cold water
  • 2 tbsps finely sliced spring onion greens


1. Rise the clams thoroughly in cold water. Discarded any with broken shells and those that are open and do not close when tapped. Mix the potato starch with the water.
2. Pour 2 cups 2 tbsp (500 ml) water into a lidded sauce pan large enough to hold all the clams and bring to a boil. then add the clams, cover and heat over a high flame for three to four minutes, until all the shells have opened, opening the lid briefly from time to time to stir them. Remove the clams with a slotted spoon and set aside, discarding any that have failed to open. Keep the cooking liquid in the pan.
3. Heat a seasoned wok over a high flame. Add the oil, followed by the black beans, ginger, garlic, chiles, and green pepper, and stir-fry briefly until they all smell wonderful. Pour in 2/3 cup (150 ml) of the clams’ cooking liquor. Bring to a boil, skim if necessary, then season with the Shaoxing wine and soy sauces and a little salt, if desired.
4. Give the potato starch mixture a stir and add it to the wok in two or three stages, using just enough to thicken the liquid to the consistency of light cream. Then, off the heat, stir in the clams and spring onion greens and mix everything together. Tip into a dish and serve.


Variation - Mussels in Black Bean Sauce: You can cook and serve mussels in exactly the same way. The only difference is that they will take a little longer to open than the clams.






Fuchsia Dunlop


2 servings




Asian : East Asian : Szechuan