2 cloves of garlic
½ a thumb-size piece of ginger
2 teaspoons preserved fermented black beans
1 fresh red chilli
1 spring onion
12 fresh razor clams (swap: 500g fresh mussels)
vegetable oil, for frying
fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, to garnish
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
½ tablespoon oyster sauce
½ tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
100ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon sugar
Finely chop the garlic and ginger, then ideally put into a mortar, or alternatively a food processor.
Wash the fermented black beans, and add to the mortar / food processor and crush together to form a paste. Finely chop the red chilli and spring onion (scallion), keeping them separate.
Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl or ramekin.
Soak the razor clams in salted cold water for 10 minutes, then blanch in boiling hot water for one minute.
Once they have cooled so they can be handled, they need to be cleaned.
Much like mussels, in razor clams there is a ‘beard’ of sorts that can be quite dirty.
The clams should have opened up from the blanching process, and you will now see the white meat, with a slightly dark part attached to the meat.
Pull apart and discard the dark, sandy part of the clam until you are left with just the white meaty parts of the clams, while continuing to clean each shell under the running cold tap.
Once the clams have been cleaned thoroughly, place them in a bowl of cold water once more.
Now build your wok clock: place the razor clams at 12 o’clock, then arrange the spring onions, black bean paste, chilli and lastly the sauce bowl clockwise around the plate.
Bring one tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok to a high heat and swirl it round the wok with your ladle or spatula.
Once smoking hot, add the spring onion and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Next add the black bean paste and fry for a further 10–20 seconds.
Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil to the wok and allow it to smoke.
Add the chilli, stir-fry continuously for 10 seconds, then pour in the sauce.
Bring to a vigorous boil, then add the clams, folding the sauce evenly through them, and cover with a lid.
Steam with the lid on for one minute, then remove the lid and fold everything together once more for a final minute or two to make sure it’s all evenly coated and seasoned.
Serve immediately, garnished with the coriander (cilantro) leaves and a few of the blanched razor clam shells.
Hong Kong Diner by Jeremy Pang