Soju Steamed Clams... and shrimp fried rice! This past weekend, we stumbled across a new Chinese restaurant that opened in our neighborhood (near Sharosugil). We weren't in the mood for Chinese, but the ambiance was too nice. We saw people out on the patio - lounging out in the sun - sipping on beers and slurping up clam shells. We couldn't help ourselves - had to try too 🤷♂️🙋♂️
Their hit-menu items were (1) Soju Steamed Clams and (2) Shrimp Fried Rice. We were tempted to order a plate of fried dumplings on the side - but resisted due to the fact of an ongoing "diet" (lol). The two dishes paired wonderfully and better yet, was light on the stomach. We loved it so much we went back the next night. I took a few mental notes of the ingredients and re-created it at home. Here it is nei'bors:
- 1 kg Manila Clams (Bajirak, 바지락)
- 1 Tablespoon of Kosher Salt (for purging clams)
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 3 Dried Red Chili Peppers (Thai Bird's Eye Chili)
- 2 Tablespoons of Butter
- Few shakes of Black Pepper
- 1 cup of Soju (White Wine ok too)
- 1 cup Water
- 1 stalk of Spring Onion garnish
Shrimp Fried Rice
- 2 stalks of Spring Onion (length of your forearm)
- 3 Eggs
- 2 inches of Carrot
- 5-6 Shrimp
- 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 2 cups of Rice
- ½ Tablespoon Sesame Oil
Soju Steamed Clams
- You want to purge the clams: Place the clams in a large mixing bowl. Pour-in enough cold water to submerge the clams. Then sprinkle some kosher salt (1T) into the water. Cover the mixing bowl with aluminum foil or a lid. (They will purge better in darkness). Set aside for at least 1 hour.
- In the meanwhile, slice garlic cloves into thin slices. Crumble the dried red chili pepper into small pieces. And dice the spring onion into very thin slices.
- After 1 hour, drain-out the water from the clams. Give one final wash and set aside in a strainer.
- Take out a large pot or wok. Place it on a medium-high heat. Drop in some butter (2 Tablespoons). When butter starts to sizzle, add in the garlic pieces and chili flakes. Stir it around for 10-15 seconds. Once the garlic pieces start to slightly brown-up on the edges, add-in the clams. Carefully toss the shells in the butter.
- Then add in the soju (1 cup). Wait until the soju comes up to boil. Let the soju boil for 1-2 minutes - so it can evaporate the alcohol. Then add-in 1 cup of water. Give it a good stir and let it come back to boil. Then boil for another 1-2 minutes (or until the 90% of the shells open up). At this time, give the broth a taste. If there is a strong alcohol taste, you can boil it for 30 more seconds and/or dilute it with more water (about ¼ cup more).
- Move the clams to your presentation bowl. Then pour that delicious broth over the clams. Garnish with the diced spring onion slices and a few shakes of black pepper.
Chinese-Style Shrimp Fried Rice
- Cut spring onion stalks into thin rounds. Dice carrot piece into small bite-sized pieces. Chop a few of the shrimp into small bite-sized pieces. But keep a few of the shrimp whole for a nice presentation.
- Scoop out two cups of rice and fan it out in a mixing bowl. (We want the rice to lose moisture and steam before we stir-fry it).
- Put a frying pan on medium-high heat. Place some oil in. Once hot, place the spring onion pieces in. Let it sizzle in the oil and flavor it. After 15-20 seconds of sizzling, move the spring onion pieces to one side of the frying pan.
- Crack 3 eggs into the other side of the frying pan. Use a wooden spatula or spoon to scramble the eggs. Try your best to keep the eggs separate from the other ingredients.
- Then drop the shrimp into the middle of the frying pan. And pour the carrot pieces over the spring onion. Give it 15-20 seconds to sizzle and cook
- Now the eggs should be fully cooked and won't stick to the other ingredients. Mix all of the ingredients together. Use your wooden spatula to stir and break down the size of the scrambled eggs. Now add in your rice. Use your spatula to mix the rice evenly into the other ingredients.
- Then add-in Soy Sauce (1 Tablespoon). Stir-fry until the soy sauce is well incorporated. Then finish with Sesame Oil (½ Tablespoon). Give one final stir to the rice.
- Bon Appetit!