Asari no Sakamushi – Clams Steamed in Sake & The Winners of Vebo!

I was at the  Japan Centre, London to stock up some cooking ingredients. I was tired that day and it took me some time to browse through the shelves to search for the items I wanted to purchase. I walked pass the small fresh fish and seafood counter and I spotted some Asari clams. I strained my eyes and took a second look. What came straight to my mind was a dish that I saw on Pig Pig’s Corner – Asari no Sakamushi! I remember asking her where she got her fresh clams. She told me from her fishmonger. That was a while ago!

Well,  I was in luck, I thought! I didn’t purposely go to find clams but they were just there not too far from where I stood. Finally, I had the chance to buy clams without looking high and low! I have to admit that I haven’t had clams for a long long time. Such a long time that I couldn’t believe it! Right, let’s be honest, I haven’t had clams since I moved to London. It has to be a joke, some may thought. But, it’s true! Probably I didn’t crave for it that’s why I didn’t try to find it. Or is it because clams are rarely seen at the fish counter when I do my weekly shopping unless I go to a proper fishmonger in London? I have seen bigger ones which I wasn’t sure if I would like them as they might be chewy?

Anyway, I think clams taste really nice and I used to be the No.1 fan in the family when I was young. So, now that I get to taste clams again after so many year and I know where to get them, I will make a few more different style of dishes out of them. It really does sound that I am living in an outskirts that clams are so difficult to be found? Maybe not many people in this country consume a lot of these short-necked clams? I don’t know. Anyway, that question aside, the fact that now I ‘reunite’ with clams, I am happy! :D

Asari no Sakamushi makes a good appetiser and it’s so easy to prepare. You don’t need to have a lot of ingredients to make this simple and yummylicious dish! The only worry is the gritty bits in them. A few websites I found mention that clams have to be soaked in salty water to get rid of the grit/sand. So, I soaked them overnight. I wasn’t too sure it really worked. So, being skeptical about it, I thought I steamed them in the pot to let them open naturally and see what happened. Crikey! I couldn’t believe that I saw sand in all the clams. Worse was a few of them were totally filled with sand! So, that soaking thing didn’t really work, huh?

I quickly rinsed off the grit in the clams under cold running water. Then, transferred them to another pot. This time, they looked much better than the first time. So, went in all the ingredients with the lid on and cooked for a few minutes. The smell of  sake, spring onions and wakame was nice. I tasted one and that sent me to heaven!

Of course I haven’t forgotten about the Vebo Giveaway! Thank you all for participations! I have randomly drawn the winners. The first winner is Ida and the second winner is Sarah M! Congratulations! Please send an email to info[at]mycookinghut[dot]com with your postal address! Thank you!

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asari-clams-with-sake

Asari no Sakamushi - Clams Steamed in Sake

Yield: 4 persons

Ingredients:

600g asari/short-necked clams
100ml sake
a small handful of wakame/dried seaweed
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning

Directions:

1. Dissolve 1 tsp of salt in a bowl of water enough to cover the clams. Soak for 2 to 3 hours or overnight to draw out the sand. Scrub the clams and rise well.

2. Over high heat, add the clams into a pot and put the lid on and steam for 2-3 minutes or until they have naturally opened. If they are gritty, rinse them under cold running tap water until no traces of sand.

3. In another pot, bring sake close to a simmer and add in a small handful of wakame. Add in the clams and put on the lid and further steam for 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle spring onions and put the lid on for another 1 minute.

4. Transfer the clams and any remaining liquid into individual serving bowls.