Steamed clams with sake, Thai basil and lime

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

600gm little neck clams, scrubbed and purged
2 tbsp olive oil
½ white onion, thinly sliced
2 clove garlic, minced
½ cup rice wine (sake)
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 red chillies
1 fresh lime to garnish
2 tbsp crispy shallots
50gm butter unsalted
¼ cup Thai basil leaves


  • In a large saucepan with a lid, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the clams, rice wine, lime juice, fish sauce, and chillies. Cover and steam for a couple more minutes, until the clams have opened up.
  • Add the butter and basil and stir. The sauce should start to reduce, taste the sauce, adding more lime juice or fish sauce to season. Serve immediately and top with extra basil and crispy shallots.

Note: Clams are sold live and need to be prepared with care. To prepare clams before cooking purge them of any sand that might be inside the tightly shut shells – there’s nothing worse than biting into sand while eating your dish. The idea is to filter the sand out by soaking them in water, actual seawater is good or you can use normal tap water with a little bit of sea salt.

Purge for at least ½ an hour, don’t leave them to long and check them so they don’t die from loss of oxygen. When you tap or agitate them, they should close. Transfer the clams to a colander using your hands or a perforated spoon (don’t tip the water out directly into the colander as you’ll end up pouring any purged sand back over them). Now they’re ready to cook.

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