This easy recipe has littleneck clams that are stir-fried in a mixture of clam juice, Chinese bean sauce, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. As the clams steam open, they release their juices to help make a savory sauce to be spooned over steamed white rice.

What to buy: Chinese bean sauce, also known as ground bean sauce, brown bean sauce, or yellow bean sauce, is made from soybeans, salt, flour, sugar, sesame oil, and spices. It can be find in Asian grocery stores; we like the Koon Chun brand.

Adapted from “Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories” by Grace Young.

Ingredients (10)

  • 1 1/2 pounds littleneck clams
  • 1/3 cup clam juice or low-sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese bean sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1 finely chopped fresh Thai chile
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions (from about 3 medium scallions)


  1. Thoroughly soak the clams in several changes of cold water, discarding any open clams. Scrub the shells with a stiff brush to remove any grit, then rinse well. Drain the clams in a colander and pat dry with paper towels; set aside.
  2. Stir the clam juice or chicken broth, bean sauce, and soy sauce together in a small bowl; set aside.
  3. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or large frying pan (not nonstick) over high heat until a bead of water dances when dropped in the pan, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drizzle the oil around the perimeter of the wok or pan and add the shallots, garlic, and ginger. Using a metal spatula, stir-fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
  4. Add the reserved clams and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the red pepper flakes or chile and stir-fry until combined, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the reserved bean sauce mixture, cover with a tightfitting lid, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring once every minute. Uncover and stir-fry until the clams are fully open, about 1 minute more.
  6. Transfer the opened clams to a serving dish and continue stir-frying, transferring the clams to the dish as they open, until the bean sauce mixture is reduced to a saucy consistency. Discard any unopened clams. Add the scallions, stir to combine, and pour the sauce over the clams.