Savoury Clams and Pork in Lettuce Cups

This recipe is typical of Chinese dishes, where cooks often stir-fry seafood combined with a small amount of minced pork. The result is a rich savoury mixture that is extremely tasty. Only the freshest, preferably live, clams should be used.

Here the mixture is served with fresh lettuce leaves, which provide a crisp contrast to the soft clam and pork mix. Each guest puts a portion of the clam and pork mixture into a hollow lettuce leaf and then eats it with their fingers.

This dish makes an unusual, delicious first course.

Ingredients

  • 225 g (8 oz) minced pork
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) water
  • 1 kg ( lb) fresh live clams, well scrubbed
  • 225 g (8 oz) iceberg lettuce
  • tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Method

Put the minced pork into a bowl together with the soy sauce, the teaspoon of Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, sesame oil and cornflour and mix well. Leave to marinate for about 20 minutes.

Bring the water to the boil in a large pan and add the clams. Remove them as soon as they begin to open. Finish opening them by hand and remove them from their shells. Discard the shells. Set the clam meat aside.

Separate and wash the lettuce leaves and set them aside, wiping off any excess water.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan over high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the ginger, garlic and shallots and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Then add the pork and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes. Then add the spring onions, the 2 tablespoons of Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, the oyster sauce, pepper and sugar and continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes. Finally return the clam meat to the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute to re-heat. Turn on to a warm serving platter. Arrange the lettuce on a separate platter and serve at once.

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