Clams in Chili-Cilantro Oil
5.0 from 8 reviews
Recipe Type: Seafood, Main Course
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 2 to 4
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup or 2 oz) any neutral vegetable oil like grapeseed or canola + more for cooking
  • a large handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 to 4 pieces small red Thai chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • a pinch of salt
  • 900 grams (2 pounds) farmed or wild clams
  • 5 slices on one-inch long sliced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 250 ml (1 cup or 8 oz) Japanese sake or any dry white wine
  • 250 ml (1 cup or 8 oz) water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of shichimi togarashi (a 7-spice Japanese chilli powder)
  1. Prepare the chili-cilantro oil in advance so it has time to steep. In a small sauce pan, heat about 1/4 cup of oil (or more, if you wish) until it is hot.
  2. Mix cilantro, red chillies, and salt in a heatproof vessel, then pour the hot oil in, giving it a quick whisk to finish. Let sit for 2 hours at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare clams for cleaning. Tap open shells on any hard surface and discard those that don't shut - those are dead. Clean clams by soaking them in cold water for a few hours, then scrub and remove them one by one. Set aside in a large bowl.
  4. Heat some cooking oil in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the ginger slices, garlic, and shallot, then fry for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.
  5. Pour in sake or white wine, followed by the water, and bring to a full boil. Add the clams and stir for a few times. Close pot lid and let cook for 7 to 12 minutes, or until all or most of the shells are opened.
  6. Discard unopened clams and set cooked clams on a serving dish.
  7. Drizzle the reserved chili-cilantro oil on clams. It is best when this oil is still warm, so warm it up in a saucepan before drizzling.
  8. Sprinkle with shichimi togarashi.
Recipe by Tartine and Apron Strings at