I love clams. All sorts and in all different ways. Cooking clams isn't hard at all. It's a great way to impress a crowd that doesn't take too much time in the kitchen. I like steaming my clams like how most people have theirs: with a bit of aromatics such as garlic, shallots, and onions steamed with white wine.
For the below recipe, instead of going the typical route, I decided to give it an Asian twist. I added ginger for zing and chili paste for kick. I used rice wine instead of white wine and fish sauce instead of salt. I also added bacon fat to give the clams some extra body and flavor. Bacon fat isn't an Asian ingredient but it is a universal truth that everything tastes better with bacon fat.
Serve the clams with a loaf of toasted french baguette to slop up the savory broth, or simply do what I did. Pick up the bowl entirely and slurp down the broth. I don't judge.
Asian Steamed Clams with Ginger and Rice Wine Recipe
3 lbs Manila clams (cleaned and scrubbed)
3 tablespoons bacon fat
Half of large onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced and sliced thinly)
1 inch knob ginger (peeled and julienned)
1 teaspoon chili paste
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup rice wine
2-3 sprigs cilantro (minced)
In a large skillet with a lid, heat up the pork fat on medium heat.
Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chili paste. Cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
Add the chicken stock, fish sauce, sugar, and wine. Mix until combined and let it come to a boil.
Once the mixture is boiling, add the clams and give it a toss until the clams are evenly coated.
Cover the skillet with a lid and turn the heat to low. Steam the clams until they all open up (10-15 minutes). Discard any clams that fail to open.
Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with toasted baguette.