Where has he been for the last month? Still eating, still cooking, just not taking pictures (my tablet was in the shop, there was a business trip, (“…a fire, a terrible flood, IT’S NOT MY FAULT!”). Anyway, after the disappointing Thai clams, I thought I’d go back to Cantonese basics. This recipe is based on Barbara Tropp’s “China Moon Cookbook.”
My intent was to try to get something like what my friends at LTHForum call “Clams Evil Ronnie Style” — spicier, and some crisp on the noodles. I got pretty close, but I should have factored the “crisp” factor into Tropp’s recipe.
This was more successful than the Thai dish: for one, I used fresh Chinese-style egg noodles (Evil Ronnie likes the rice noodles, I wanted a little more bite), and had the heat balance I wanted. Unfortunately, smaller clams were not at all economical (at least the big’uns were 3/$1 this time).
This was also one of my first opportunities to take advantage of the bounty of my garden: leaves from the Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) substituted for spinach, a jalapeno, and fresh basil were included.
Recipe: Clams in Black Bean Sauce with Fresh Noodles and Basil
Serves two very hungry people, reheats well
1 tbs (15g) fermented black beans, roughly chopped
1.5 Tbs (22.5 ml) Chinese rice wine
1 Tbs (15ml) garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs (15ml) ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp “goop” from homemade Chinese chile oil (see recipe from Gary Wiviott)
2 Tbs (30ml) thinly sliced scallions
- Soak the chopped beans in the wine for at least ten minutes
- Drain the wine into another bowl, mix the rest of the above ingredients together
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 Tbs soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
rice wine drained from soaking black beans
1/2 lb (250g) fresh Chinese egg noodles
1.5 tsp (7.5ml) Chile oil
- In a large pot, boil a couple quarts of water
- Add the noodles, and boil for just a couple minutes until barely al dente — they’ll cook more in the final dish.
- Drain, and toss with the chile oil
The Rest of the Dish
15 littleneck clams, scrubbed
2 Tbs (30ml) vegetable oil
1/2 red onion, chopped into 1/2″ (1.5cm) pieces
1 jalapeno chile, sliced
1 fresno chile, sliced (I’d have used more jalapeno, the one above was the first ripe one in the garden)
4 scallions, cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) nuggets
2 cups (225ml) gai lan (or spinach) leaves, chopped roughly
1 cup (225ml) oyster mushrooms, cut in half
more scallions, sliced thinly, for garnish
1 cup (225ml) fresh basil, chiffonade
- Heat wok on high
- Add oil and swirl
- When the oil starts to smoke, add aromatics and stir fry for a half-minute or so
- Add the onion, stir fry for another 2 minutes until softened
- Add the jalapeno and fresno, and the mushrooms, stir fry another couple minutes
- Add scallion nuggets and noodles, stir fry to crisp up the noodles a little (probably add a bit more oil here)
- Add the sauce to the pan, then push everything off the bottom and add the clams, then re-cover with the noodles and vegetables, and scatter the greens over the top
- Cover and steam about 5 minutes (less if your clams are smaller). Check after about 3 minutes to see if the clams are open — if they’re not, cover again and be patient.
- Serve, garnished with scallions and basil. Discard any unopened clams.
Accompanied by Woodchuck Granny Smith Cider, and “Spellbound” by Larry Correia