Stir Fried Clams in Chile, Garlic, and Black Bean Sauce

Finger Hot is the commercial name for this asian-type pepper that is actually very similar to fresh cayenne and can be used in any recipe to add heat without changing the flavor. It is a good chile to chop and use in stir fry.

They are thin-walled and measure about 1/2″ wide and 5″ to 8″ long. These chiles also dry very nicely.

Heat Scale
Submit Recipe


24 small cherrystone clams
1 Tbsp. Chinese salted and fermented black beans
1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp. peanut oil
2-3 fresh green finger-hot chiles, stemmed and sliced diagonally
2 green onions, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. sugar
white pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. Chinese Shaoxing rice wine
1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. hot Asian sesame oil


Scrub the clams and rinse them well with cold water. Discard any of the clams that do not shut quickly or have broken shells. Keep the clams refrigerated in a bowl covered with a damp towel until ready to cook.

Soak the black beans in lukewarm water to cover for 5 minutes, then rinse with fresh water and transfer them to a small bowl with the ginger and garlic. Using the back of a fork, gently mash the mixture into a coarse paste and set aside.

Place a wok over high heat. When it gets hot, add the oil, then the black bean paste, chiles and green onions. Stir the mixture rapidly until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the clams and stir-fry for 1 minute, then season with the sugar and white pepper. Splash in the rice wine and toss the ingredients together for a few seconds.

Add the soy sauce and chicken stock. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-high and let the wok simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until the clams open.

Pour the cornstarch mixture into the center of the wok and stir continuously until the sauce thickens to a creamy glaze. Drizzle in the sesame oil and serve with hot steamed jasmine rice.

Yields 6 servings.

Recipe from an article by Joyce Jue in the San Francisco Chronicle, 09/01/93.