Sunday, June 5, 2011

Taiwanese Clam & Ginger Soup

In Taiwan, my mom used to make a clam soup at least once every couple of weeks for lunch, using fresh clams from the market which she cooked in a clear broth with lots of ginger. I think there's something to be said for simplicity, as there are very few ingredients in this dish, but it is so satisfyingly good. I don't have her exact recipe, but here's my version which I think is a pretty close approximation. I've used imitation crab ('Krab') to help flavor the broth - not an ingredient that my mom used, but I like the flavor it imparts. 

2 quarts + 2 cups (=18 cups) water
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. julienned fresh ginger
1 tsp. white pepper
3 tbsp. chicken base (I like using Totole chicken powder)
1 tbsp. rice wine
1 pkg (1 lb.) of imitation crab 
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 scallions, diced

2 lbs. fresh clams (Littlenecks are good). The frozen ones from 99 Ranch Market, or other Asian markets, also work well if you can't get ahold of really fresh clams. 

1. Soup base: combine all the ingredients (except for the clams) in a stock pot and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 10-15 minutes. 

2. Bring soup back up to a boil and add the clams (juices and all, if using frozen). As soon as clams open, the soup is ready. Discard any unopened clams. Stir in another tbsp. of shredded ginger, if desired, before serving.

Julienne 2 tbsp. fresh ginger (and maybe another tbsp. more if you to add that to the soup before serving for an extra gingery kick).

1/2 cup cilantro & 2 scallions, chopped.

White pepper, sesame oil & chicken base.

Imitation crab. I would never use this to make crab cakes, but it's an otherwise very flavorful, versatile, and even heart healthy ingredient. I use it often to enhance the flavor of Chinese soup bases. 

Combine all ingredients (except clams) to make the soup base. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer about 10-15 minutes.

These are frozen clams from the 99 Ranch Market. They come in a 2-lb. package, and are a perfectly good sub for the fresh stuff. Oh, and it costs just under $3.00 - get out!

Bring soup back up to a boil and add the clams. If you like, you can add some extra julienned fresh ginger to the soup just before serving.


  1. wow that looks delicious. Thank you

  2. You're welcome! And it's easy to make, too.

  3. I couldn't find my mom's recipe and this looked good. I hope it is. I'm making it tonight. Thanks.