Black Bean Steamed Clams
Black Bean Steamed Clams

Black Bean Steamed Clams

Clams and Chinese Salted Black Beans are quite often paired together, but most commonly this happens in stir-fried dishes. Here, they are steamed together with chili, garlic and scallion to make a terrific appetizer or Dim Sum style dish.

A Note on the Ingredients

Small Hard-shell Clams
Small Hard-shell Clams

There are many, many varieties of clam to choose from, and you can certainly use any you like for this recipe. It is recommended, however, that you select on of the smaller, hard-shell species, along the lines of those pictured above. Littleneck clams, or Cherrystones would be excellent choices, as would be the White Clams used in this recipe.

I have used a pretty fiery Thai Red Chili here and, even used sparingly, they add a good deal of heat to the finished dish. If you prefer, you could kick it down a bit and use, say, Jalapeños, or, if you are not a fan of spicy dishes, you could substitute fine slivers of Red Bell Pepper instead.

The Basic Method for Black Bean Steamed Clams

Preparing the Sauce
Preparing the Sauce

To make the sauce that will later be used to steam the clams, you first sweat garlic, ginger, and scallion in little oil, then stir in a good Basic Chinese Chicken Stock, Rice Wine, Oyster Sauce, and Sugar. This is just brought to the boil, stirred until the sugar is dissolved, and then removed from the heat.

Preparing the Steaming Plates
Preparing the Steaming Plates

For steaming, you want to arrange the clams attractively in appropriate dishes. I used two dishes (with a half-pound of clams each), but smaller dishes with just a few clams would also look very pretty. Afterwards, you spoon over the prepared sauce, then scatter the chili and black beans over everything.

Steaming the Clams.
Steaming the Clams.

The steaming won’t take more than 6 or 7 minutes with small clams. Once done, you can garnish with sliced scallion green, if desired. Serve hot.

Your Recipe Card:

Black Bean Steamed Clams

Black Bean Steamed Clams pairs the sweet taste of baby clams with umami rich Chinese Fermented Black Beans for a great appetizer or Dim Sum style dish.
Course: Appetizer, Dim Sum
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Chinese Salted Black Beans, Clams, Steamed
Author: John Thompson


  • 1 lb. small Clams;
  • ½ cup Chicken Stock;
  • 2 tbsp. Shaoxing Wine;
  • 1 tsp. Oyster Sauce;
  • ½ tsp. Sugar optional;
  • 1 small Scallion sliced into thin rings;
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh Garlic;
  • 1 tsp. minced Ginger;
  • 2 small red chilies thinly sliced;
  • 1 tbsp. Salted Black Beans coarsely chopped.


  • Mix together the stock, wine, oyster sauce and the sugar, if you are using it, and set aside for the moment.
  • Heat a little oil in a small pan over moderate heat and then sweat the garlic, ginger, and the white parts of the scallion, reserving the green section for later.
  • When the garlic is soft but not browned, add the stock mixture, allow everything to come just to the boil and then remove from the heat.
  • Arrange the clams in little serving dishes, and spoon over the sauce, making sure to include the bits of garlic and onion.
  • Scatter the chili and black beans over the clams.
  • Steam your dishes for 7 or 8 minutes, scatter over the reserved green scallion segments and serve immediately.


  1. This is one of my all time favorite dishes 🙂
    But WHY !!1 ??? such a tiny portion 🙁
    Life could be better (More clams ) 🙂

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!