Manila Clams with Shiro Dashi and Basil

Clams are often covered and gently steamed until they open. Here, chef Trigg Brown cooks them uncovered over high heat to coax steam from the cooking liquid and concentrate its flavor at the same time. The result: tender, juicy clams with a rich, reduced broth in only 15 minutes.

Manila Clams with Shiro Dashi and Basil Recipe
Photo: Gary He
Total Time:
15 mins
2 to 4


  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 2 pounds small clams (about 16 per pound), such as cockle, baby Manila, or littleneck, scrubbed and purged

  • 1/2 cup Asian-style lager beer (such Taiwan Beer)

  • 1/2 cup Shaoxing cooking wine or dry sherry

  • 1/4 cup shiro dashi

  • 1 1/2 cups halved Sun Gold cherry tomatoes

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon gochugaru


  1. Heat oil in a wok or large high-sided skillet over high. Add garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add clams, beer, Shaoxing cooking wine, and shiro dashi; cook, uncovered, stirring often, until clams open, 10 to 15 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open.

  2. Add tomatoes, basil, and butter; cook, stirring constantly, until butter is melted. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and gochugaru. Garnish with basil leaves.


Shiro dashi is a concentrated soup base available at Asian markets.

Suggested Pairing

Vivid, lightly herbal Sémillon.

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