Shijimi clams simmered in a soy sauce based sweet and salty sauce, goes so well with plain rice, on ochazuke (rice with tea), as an onigiri rice ball filling, or as a drinking snack. It can be used mixed into rice, or in an omelette too. It's so versatile. You can make this with Manila clams (asari) too.
De-sand the clams by putting them in lightly salted water (1%) for 3 to 5 hours. If you leave them soaking for too long the flavor will deteriorate!
After they have been de-sanded, rub the shells together to wash them, and put them in a pan.
Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sake, cover with a lid and steam-cook them until the clams open up.
When they are done steaming, strain off the liquid (keeping it in reserve) to separate the liquid from the clams.
Take the insides of the clams out of the shells. If you use a spoon to scoop them out, they should come out easily.
Return the strained off liquid from Step 4 into the pan, add the ☆ ingredients and bring to a boil. Put the insides of the clams into the pan and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Take the clams out into a bowl.
Add the ● ingredients to the pan and bring to a boil. Simmer until thickened, taking care that it doesn't burn.
Put the clams back in the thickened sauce. When the clams have shrunk a little and are nice and shiny, they are done.
I recommed making this with nutrient-rich shijimi clams, but you can make it with Manila clams instead.
Story Behind this Recipe
My husband came home from a business trip with a gift of 5 kilos of shijimi clams caught in Tobashiri in Hokkaido from a client. So I decided to make something with them! Shijimi clams are small, but packed with umami! They also are good for your liver's functions, and help to combat fatigue too! They have 4 times the calcium of Manila clams! And 3 times the calcium of milk apparently.
If you de-sand the clams in a dark place, they'll spit out a lot of water. When you de-salt the clams, try not to overlap them (although I haven't followed my own advice in the photos.) If they overlap, the clams below tend to suck in the sand spit out the the clams on top. Add barely enough water to cover the clams; the tops can peek out of the water a bit.