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Chinese-Style Clams

Stir-frying aromatics

Stir-frying aromatics (step 2)

Chinese-Style Clams

In this recipe, "lala" clams are steamed in Chinese aromatics - ginger, shallots, chilli, spring onions and fermented black beans. This is an extremely fast recipe as the actual cooking time is less than 5 minutes – overcooking is a no-no and will result in chewy and rubbery clams.

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 5 mins


  • 500 grams clams such as lala clams, manilla clams or asari clams
  • salted water for soaking clams
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 stalks spring onions (scallions) cut to 5cm (2 inch) length

(A) Aromatics

  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 slices ginger minced
  • 2 chilli padi (bird's eye chili) sliced thinly; to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp fermented black beans rinsed, patted dry & mashed slightly with a fork


  1. Scrub the lala clams thoroughly with a hard bristles brush. Soak the clams in salted water for at least an hour for the clams to purge out sand and impurities. Drain the water, rinse the clams and set aside.
  2. Heat cooking oil in wok. Add the bottom white ends of the spring onions and (A). Stir fry for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add washed clams, water and Chinese wine. Stir fry for a brief moment to coat the clams in the sauce, add the remaining spring onions, then cover with lid to let the clams steam for about 2 minutes, until all or most of the shells are opened. Discard any shells that remain closed.

Leave a Comment

15 Responses to “Chinese-Style Clams”

  1. tigerfish — November 30, 2011 @ 6:42 am

    You are attempting me again with the price of clams. Here, they sell for about USD4 for 1/2 kg – so not very cheap and that’s why I seldom buy them to cook at home. But I do love clams (prefer clams to mussels) !!! drooling now…over your delicious clams.


    • wiffy replied: — November 30th, 2011 @ 11:41 am

      but the clams there are bigger and juicer right! here our lala clams are smaller.


  2. Little Corner of Mine — November 30, 2011 @ 7:44 am

    Sure looks delicious! I wonder if I buy clams here, would my husband and girls eat it?


  3. Ann@Anncoo Journal — November 30, 2011 @ 11:54 pm

    I love tofry clams with chilli and bean paste but your steamed clams look so much more healthier and delicious than mine.


  4. Elies_Lie — December 1, 2011 @ 9:37 am

    I always want to cook a clam like this but never had a chan to do so :D
    Tq fr sharing the recipe, will try this soon when I have a chance
    a healthy clam dish! what could be better than that? ;)


  5. mycookinghut — December 2, 2011 @ 3:30 am

    Oh yum! I love lala choked like this, so good!


  6. Michelle — December 7, 2011 @ 9:06 pm

    Hi Wiffy, eh..why is this called steaming when the clams are fried with the seasonings? steaming means clams placed on a plate over boiling water, no? Regardless, this looks yummy as usual. My elder son loves clams .. I dun normally stir fry with homemade chilli and garlic, and then add my fav tang hoon :-)


    • wiffy replied: — December 7th, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

      I was thinking whether to name it stir-fried or steamed too. At the end,
      decided with steaming because the clams were cooked by covering with a
      lid to allow the steam to cook the clams. The stir-frying in the beginning is for the ginger etc to be aromatic.


  7. billy.khor — December 13, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

    i love that.


  8. wendy wong — August 8, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

    hi, do u have a recipe for canned pacific clams. It was given to me by somebody but dunno how to cook it the chinese way


  9. Joyce koh — July 2, 2014 @ 4:18 pm

    Hi, is it normal that after soaking clams for 1 hour, most of the clams are still not opened?
    Is it during cooking then most shells will open & discard those that still remain closed?


    • wiffy replied: — July 2nd, 2014 @ 4:59 pm

      Hi Joyce,
      is it normal that after soaking clams for 1 hour, most of the clams are still not opened? – Yes, that’s perfectly normal

      Is it during cooking then most shells will open & discard those that still remain closed? Yes, correct :)


      • Joyce koh replied: — July 4th, 2014 @ 2:37 pm

        My kids and hubby enjoy the steamed clams They are begging me to cook it more often.
        Thanks for sharing.

  10. Vion — July 15, 2014 @ 11:47 am

    Hi Wiffy,

    Is it ok to omit the black bean?
    All bottle in supermarket is very big, i don’t i can finish it before the expiry…..


    • wiffy replied: — July 15th, 2014 @ 5:16 pm

      Yes, you can omit the fermented black beans. Technically though, they “never” spoil (though there is expiry date), it keeps well in the fridge and is great for many Chinese dishes.