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Recipe: Manila Clams Steamed with Sake

The first thing you notice about the Manila clam is its beautiful shell pattern, which is more intricate that the shell of the plainer butter clam. The Manilas are also oblong, while butter clams are rounder. Manila clams are natives of Japan, but they've found a home in the Puget Sound. Some say they clung onto ships to make the trip from Japan to the US, so maybe that's why I identify with them so much! Manilas are versatile, slightly sweet and easy to cook. They have more flavor and texture and are softer than other clams. They're a favorite of mine, and I often serve them in miso soup or steamed with sake, as I describe below.

4 servings


2 lbs Manila clams

2 cups water

A pinch of salt

1 tsp low sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup sake

1/2 tsp thinly sliced ginger

1 wedge of lemon


1. Wash the clams in water by gently rubbing them against each other.

2. Combine water with sake in a pan and cook on medium-high heat.

3. Add the clams.

4. Put a lid on the pan and cook until the clams open (about 3-4 minutes).

5. Add soy sauce and turn off heat.

6. Transfer to a bowl, add the lemon wedge and ginger before serving.

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