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Clams with Lap Cheong and Fermented Black Bean

An Asian take on clams, sausage, and beer.


Makes 2 servings
  • 3 T Korean black soybean paste (chunjang)
  • 1 T mirin
  • 1 T Chili Oil
  • 1 link lap cheong (Chinese sausage), cut into 1/4" thick coins
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 dozen bay clams (a mix of butter, littleneck, purple varnish, and/or other varieties)
  • 1/2 C cheap beer
  • + scallions, chopped
  • + Thai basil leaves

Chili Oil

  • 1/2 C dried Thai red chilies
  • 1 1/2 C vegetable oil


Make the Clams

  1. Mix the chunjang with the mirin. Set aside.

  2. Get a sauté pan hot, and add the chili oil. Toss in the lap cheong, garlic, and any larger clams that will take longer to cook. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is toasty and fragrant.

  3. Add the remaining clams and douse with beer. Add the chunjang-mirin mixture, and cover. Cook until almost all of the clams have opened. (Better to leave a couple unopened than to overcook the whole batch).

  4. Top the clams with chopped scallions and Thai basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Make the Chili Oil

This recipe will give you about 1 1/2 C oil, which you can keep on hand for just about anything. 

  1. In a food processor (or just with your knife on a cutting board), roughly chop the dried chilies. Toss them into a saucepan and toast them over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until they become nose-burningly fragrant and the pan gets smoking hot—about 3 to 5 minutes. (Be careful not to brown or burn the chilies.)

  2. Pour the oil over the chilies. Let the oil heat up until bubbles begin to form around the chilies—about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Store the chilies and oil in an airtight container, straining out the oil as needed. It should last for a couple weeks.