Clams in Black Bean Sauce
Fermented black beans can be found at Asian markets; but if unavailable, you can substitute prepared black bean sauce.
2 dozen clams, such as littleneck or cherrystone
2 tablespoons fermented black beans
1 tablespoon ginger
1 clove garlic
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon chile paste with garlic
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 4 teaspoons of water
3 tablespoons oil for stir-frying, or as needed
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Use a stiff brush to scrub the outside of the clams under cold running water. Drain.
Steam the clams for 10 minutes, or until the shells open. Discard any clams with unopened shells. Shuck the clams and chop the meat into bite-sized pieces.
Rinse the fermented black beans, and chop finely. Mince the ginger. Combine the beans and ginger and mash.
Peel the garlic and finely chop. Wash the leeks and cut on the diagonal into 1 1/2-inch pieces.
In a small bowl, mix together the chicken broth, light and dark soy sauce, sugar and chili paste with garlic. Set aside. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and set aside.
Heat the wok over medium-high to high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. When the oil is hot, add the leeks and stir-fry until they turn a light brown (about 2 minutes). Season the leeks with a bit of soy sauce or salt during stir-frying if desired. Remove the leeks from the wok.
Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the black bean and ginger mixture. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then add the clams. Cook for a minute, mixing the clams in with the black bean sauce. Push up to the sides and add the sauce in the middle.
Add the cornstarch and water mixture, stirring to thicken. Add the leeks back into the pan. Cook for a few more minutes. Remove from the pan and stir in the sesame oil. Serve hot.
Yield: 3-4 Servings