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Chinese Steamed Clams

Chinese Steamed Clams

Overcooking will result in chewy and rubbery clams, so remove the clams from the heat once all or most of the shells are opened.

Check out the step-by-step cooking pictures at the previous page.


  • 500 grams local clams such as lala, manila or asari clams
  • 1 tsp sea salt for soaking clams
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 3 stalks spring onions only the bottom white part
  • 2 tbsp Chinese wine (Hua Tiao/Shaoxing)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • chopped coriander and/or spring onions for garnish

(A) Aromatics

  • 3 thin slices ginger julienned
  • 1/2 tbsp fermented black beans rinsed, patted dry & mashed slightly with a fork
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 1 red finger-length chilli diced; for colour
  • 2 red chilli padi (bird’s eye chili) diced; for the heat; optional
  • 2 garlic cloves minced


  1. Scrub the clams thoroughly with a hard bristle brush. Submerge the clams in a pot of water with 1 tsp salt added for at least an hour for the clams to purge its sand. Drain the water, rinse the clams and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in wok. Add (A) and stir fry briefly until aromatic.
  3. Add washed clams, spring onions (white part), Chinese wine and water. Stir fry for a brief moment to coat the clams in the sauce, then cover with lid to let the clams steam for about 3 minutes, or until all or most of the shells are opened. Discard any shells that remain closed. Garnish with coriander/spring onions and serve immediately.
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15 comments on “Chinese Steamed Clams”

  1. 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.

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

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

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

  6. 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 :-)

    • 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. i love that.

  8. 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. 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?

    • 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 :)

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

  10. 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…..

    • 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.

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