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Sake-Steamed Clams (Asari no Sakamushi)

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The wild boar has been bugging me about recreating this dish ever since he tasted it at Koya not too long ago. This is apparently a very common dish at an izakaya 居酒屋 (a Japanese bar or pub offering a variety of small dishes). It is boozy, briny and you can actually taste the natural flavours and sweetness of the clams. Absolutely delicious.

Sake-Steamed Clams (Asari no Sakamushi)

The key to success is using very fresh clams, so make good friends with your local fishmonger. Nothing is worse than eating half a pot of spoiled clams. Fresh clams can be gritty, so soak them in brine for a couple of hours to remove all the grit and sand from the inside and outside of the clams. Some may suggest soaking in water with a bit of cornmeal as the clams will ingest the cornmeal and spit out any sand that is inside. I personally have not tried this as salt water sounded like an easier option.

Sake-Steamed Clams (Asari no Sakamushi) 1

This dish is extremely easy. With just a few ingredients, you can enjoy this tasty dish in less than 10 minutes.
Ingredients: serves 2 as a starter
  • 500 g fresh clams
  • 1/2 tbs butter
  • 1 stalk spring onion - chopped
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbs mirin
  • Salt

Directions:
  • Clean the clams and soak in brine (1 tsp salt in 2 1/2 cups water) for at least 1 hr. Rinse.
  • Melt butter in a pot.
  • Add the white part of spring onion. Stir fry until fragrant.
  • Mix in clams.
  • Pour in sake, water and mirin.
  • Cover and bring the liquid to boil at high heat.
  • As soon as the clam shells are open, remove from heat and season to taste with salt.
  • Stir in the green part of spring onion.
  • Remember to discard any clams that do not open as they may be contaminated.

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