In the Kitchen with Yumivore: Sake Steamed Clams

If you enjoy my content, please share!

Yumivore’s CookUp Club

As much as I adore my online conversations and cooking virtually with people around the world in our Tasting Jerusalem group, it’s still a joy to cook at the same time in the same kitchen with others who share a similar passion. So when Orly from the blog Yumivore asked me to join her newly-formed CookUp Club, I jumped at the chance.

March Theme – Cooking with Alcohol

Once a month, six of us meet in her kitchen, each ready to cook a dish to share. A theme is chosen but the rest is up to each of us to decide. I couldn’t attend the first one, which focused on cooking with olive oil, but the recap of that amazing menu is here on Orly’s blog. Last week, the theme was cooking with alcohol – any type you want. After seeing what others were doing, I chose to make sake steamed clams, allowing me to explore cooking with sake, a Japanese rice-based alcohol in a new way with a protein I had never made myself – clams.

sake steamed clamsTo accompany the dish, I also purchased two small bottles of sake for us to taste – one on the dry side and one a bit sweeter. We all agreed the dry one would make a great base for a cocktail – perhaps paired with something fruity or tropical.

Sake Steamed Clams – A Mingling of Two Recipes

sake steamed clamsThe clam dish couldn’t have been easier. I based my dish on two different recipes – one from Noboa Fukuda from Food and Wine and one from Namiko Chen from the blog Just One Cookbook. Both called for Manila Clams, which are smaller than the clams you usually see at your fish market. But I ended up buying the bigger Littleneck variety at Whole Foods.

Clean those Clams!

The trick is getting the clams clean, clean, clean. After doing a little research online, I placed the clams in a big bowl with about one tablespoon of salt and covered them with water, letting them sit for about an hour. Sure enough, the water was dirty after the hour. I picked each clam up, rinsed it off thoroughly and set it aside. After washing them all, I rinsed out the bowl, put the clams back in, and filled it up again with water to be sure they were done spitting out sand. The water remained clean at this stage.

The Technique

To cook them, I used a wok-style pan, placing the sake, a bit of water, and fresh ginger in to boil. After coming to a boil, I added the clams and some sliced green onions, turned the heat down, covered it and about 5 minutes later they were opened and ready to eat.

sake steamed clamsI placed them in a rice bowl on some freshly-made Japanese rice, poured a bit of the sauce over and a sprinkling of togorashi – a Japanese chili spice blend. They still tasted of-the-sea but with a Japanese twist finished perfectly with a hit of mild chili pepper from the togorashi. You can serve the clams without the rice or as one recipe suggested, on top of soba (buckwheast) noodles – an inspired combination I think.

sake steamed clams

Along with my dish, we enjoyed a wonderful salad topped with bourbon maple pistachios by Tricia from the blog Cheeky Attitude, drunken homemade! pasta cooked in red wine, whiskey glazed carrots, beer bread, red-wine braised stuffed mushrooms, and an amazing 3-liquor cupcake – beer infused chocolate cake with whiskey ganache topped with Irish crème whipped topping.

Quite a feast for a busy weeknight – can’t wait to see what next month’s topic will be!

Do you cook clams and if yes, what’s your favorite preparation?

sake steamed clams
5 from 1 vote

Sake Steamed Clams

A simple preparation using Japanese sake (rice wine). This version was closely inspired by a recipe on Food and Wine by Nobua Fukuda and a recipe on Just One Cookbook by Namiko Chen
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 87 kcal
Author Beth Lee


  • 2 pounds Manila or Littleneck Clams I went a little bit over in case some didn't open
  • 1 tablespoon julienned fresh ginger (I cut them in matchsticks)
  • 1 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup water
  • 2 - 3 green onions sliced
  • fresh ground pepper
  • Ichimi or Shichimi Togorashi to sprinkle
  • Japanese rice for serving optional


  1. Clean the clams really well by soaking in cold water and about a tablespoon of salt, letting them sit for an hour or so. Then wash each clam by hand under running water and set aside. Wash the bowl out and put the clams back in and fill with water and let them stay there until you are ready to cook them.
  2. Place the sake, water, and ginger in a large saute pan or wok and bring to a boil. Add the clams and green onion, turn the heat to low, cover and let cook for about 5 minutes. Check that the clams are all open, discard any that are not.
  3. Serve atop a small bowl of rice with some of the sauce drizzled on, passing the togorashi for sprinkling.


, , , , ,

18 Responses to In the Kitchen with Yumivore: Sake Steamed Clams

  1. Jen April 9, 2013 at 2:33 am #

    This sounds fantastic, I love clams they are my favourite shellfish and it’s great to find a new way to prepare them. Will be giving this a try very soon!

  2. Melissa April 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    What a great project! I’ve cooked nine recipes from Jerusalem and have loved them all… Just found your blog today while looking for a crisp topping (love Deborah Madison)… I hope to join in!

    • Beth Lee April 6, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

      Melissa please join us at Tasting Jerusalem! We have a Facebook page: and the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram is #TastingJrslm and there is a page on my blog with all of the posts from what we’ve been cooking in the menu at the top of the page.

      We would love to know what you have cooked so far! This month we are exploring two recipes that use couscous in the cookbook as well as running a recipe contest for an original recipe using the versatile little sphere!

      What’s your favorite recipe so far?

      • Melissa April 6, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

        Wonderful! I’d love to join you! I am not on Facebook or Instagram, but I tweet at @TahoeAnnap, so I can give feedback there and on the tasting jerusalem page…

        So far I have made… clementine and almond syrup cake, basic hummus, tomato and sourdough soup, chicken with cardamom, baby spinach salad with dates and almonds, roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad, meatballs with fava beans (we used Lima beans), turkey and zucchini burgers, and basmati rice and orzo… Next on my list (for Monday’s meatless Monday dinner) is the Swiss chard with tahini, yogurt & pine nuts… All the recipes have been really really good… The ones we have repeated a couple of times ( a good measure of greatness in our house), are the cauliflower salad, the Lima beans, the turkey burgers, and the hummus…:-). Yum!

  3. [email protected] Mom March 23, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    I love clams – but I confess, I have never cooked them myself before. These look delicious!

    • Beth Lee March 23, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

      Try it Kim – so easy. Hope you had a great SITS day! thanks for popping over.

  4. Carol Sacks March 22, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    So intriguing! Great post, Beth.

    • Beth Lee March 23, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

      Thanks Carol – when you try something new and it’s so easy, you wonder why you waited so long!

  5. Hannah March 21, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    Ohhh, I can’t tell you how much I’d love to join you in Orly’s kitchen! You are so right, lots of joy in cooking together in person. Someday! I love seeing your creativity here and trying some new ideas. I don’t have any experience cooking with sake and I’m inspired. Nami always shares such tempting dishes, too. Sounds like you all had a delicious evening!

    • Beth Lee March 22, 2013 at 8:03 am #

      We did have a yummy evening. And sometime soon, you will join us Hannah! I cannot wait to cook with you – you inspire me with your use of ingredients and simple sophistication. And yes, Nami’s dishes come up so often when I am searching for recipes – she has such an amazing repertoire!

  6. @yumivore March 21, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    I couldn’t be more thrilled we’re cooking together Beth! While it’s wonderful to connect online as you note, spending time together is so nourishing and I, and the group, are so fortunate you can schlepp up for our late night cook fests. You bring a lot of sweetness or dare I said OMG yumminess to the table!

    These clams were so easy and so yummy, something to definitely make (again). I loved that you brought different sakes to try, a fun addition to our boozy evening! I also loved that you and all of us got to try something new. I didn’t realize just how easy it is to make this. There’s something inspirational about cooking together. Now that I’ve gushed … thank you friend for a wonderful post and shout out! Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could cook together with all of our food-blogging and food-loving friends? Here’s to more yum together in the kitchen!

    • Beth Lee March 22, 2013 at 7:58 am #

      It’s a dream but organizing some kind of blogging cook-together has got to happen … What an event it would be! Thanks for reading and for getting us all in the kitchen Orly!

  7. Nami | Just One Cookbook March 21, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    5 stars
    Hi Beth! Thank you so much for linking back to my recipe. Clams are so easy and quick to cook that we can make a lot of amount in a short time, perfect for entertaining! And yes, soba sounds like a great match or with spaghetti and ma fusion vongole with this too. 🙂 I just shared your link on my page too. Thanks so much!

    • Beth Lee March 21, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by Nami! I love your blog – frequently it comes up when I am searching for recipes. We have a fusion kind of household. I can be cooking soba one night and matzo balls the next. Appreciate the link back and the inspiration from your recipe. I am so glad I took the plunge with the clams – I will absolutely do this again and you’re right – it would be so easy to up it for a crowd.

  8. Lizthechef March 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    I wonder if I could do mussels instead of clams? Very creative –

    • Beth Lee March 21, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

      Oh absolutely – I can’t see why not. I plan to try just that!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Beth Lee

Get New OMG! Yummy Posts via Email

Absolutely no spam. Just an occasional email to share a yummy post.

You have Successfully Subscribed!