Steamed Clams with Lemon and Soy Sauce

Kai no Saka Mushi

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

An American Taste of Japan

An American Taste of Japan

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1985

  • About

A simple hot appetizer to start any meal ...


  • about 2 dozen soft-shell clams
  • 4 square inches dashi kombu (dried kelp for stock making)
  • ¼ cup saké (Japanese rice wine)
  • ½ lemon, cut into wedes
  • soy sauce, for dipping


Scrub the shells of the clams to remove any encrustations. Make a salted water solution to cover the clams. (It should taste briny, like the ocean.) Soak the clams in it for about 30 minutes. They should open slightly to “breathe” and expel sand wastes. Pour off the water, rinse the clams in cold water, and repeat the soaking and rinsing.

Place the dried kelp in the bottom of a heavy pot large enough to hold the clams without their touching each other. Add the rice wine, then arrange the clams in a single layer in the pot. Cover and steam over high heat for 3–4 minutes after the rice wine has come to a boil. Any clams that are still unopened should be discarded. Transfer the clams in their shells to individual bowls. Pour the broth from the pot through a cloth- or paper-lined strainer or colander over the clams. Serve immediately with lemon wedges to be squeezed directly on the clams, and soy sauce for dipping on the side. The kelp, Simmered Mushrooms and Kelp, Kelp Squares with Fragrant Pepper can be deliciously recycled into the recipes.