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Stir-Fried Clams in Black Bean Sauce

Stir-fried plump and juicy clams cooked in smoky and aromatic black bean sauce are matchless. The sauce is as delicious in aroma as it is in flavor. There is no need to add salt to this dish because clams are naturally salty, as are the Chinese dried black beans.

2 dozen littleneck or cherrystone clams
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons finely shredded ginger
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons rice cooking wine (Shao Hsing brand preferred)
2 tablespoons Chinese dried black beans, well rinsed
1 scallion, finely shredded

Thoroughly wash the clams in several changes of cold water, discarding any open clams. Scrub the shells with a vegetable brush to remove grit and rinse well. Drain the clams in a colander.

Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, ginger and garlic, and stir-fry 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, beans and clams, and stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes, or until the shells just begin to open.

Add the broth and rice wine and cover 2 to 3 minutes, or until some of the shells have opened. Transfer the opened clams to a platter and continue stirring uncovered, on high heat until all the clams have opened and the broth is reduced slightly, about 3 to4 minutes. Stir in the Chinese black beans. Discard any unopened clams. Garnish with the scallion. Serve immediately. Serve with rice to 4 to 6 as part of a multicourse meal.

"Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen" by Grace Young

Thursday, August 12, 1999

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