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Secrets of the Red Lantern (Vietnamese)
by Pauline Nguyen and Luke Nguyen
Serves 4 as appetizer

Steamed Clams with Chile, Garlic and Basil
(Nghêu Hâp Vói Ót Toi Và Rau Huê)



• 1 pound small clams
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 2 scallions, white part only, chopped
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
• 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 handful basil leaves, shredded, plus extra for garnish
• 1 teaspoon potato starch
• 1 bird's-eye chile, sliced


In a wok or large saucepan, add the clams and chicken stock, cover and steam for about 5 minutes, or until the clams open. (Discard any that do not open.) Strain the cooking liquid from the clams and reserve for later use.

Return the wok to the heat, pour in the oil, and gently fry the scallions and garlic. Once softened, increase the heat and add the clams, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and salt. Stir or toss the wok to combine the ingredients. Add the basil and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Then add the potato starch mixed with 1 tablespoon of cold water to the wok. This will thicken the sauce slightly. Turn out onto a serving plate and garnish with extra basil leaves and chile.

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