These delicious Vietnamese lemongrass beer steamed clams take 15 minutes to throw together. The meaty, juicy clams are infused with fragrant lemongrass and pair perfectly with a cold glass of beer.
This weekend I lucked out and got to the farmers market in time to snatch up the last few pounds of fresh clams from Dry Dock Fish. It’s been months since I’ve cooked with clams and decided to throw together a quick pot of Vietnamese lemongrass beer steamed clams. This dish brought back fond memories of my travel to Nha Trang, a beautiful seaside paradise on the South Central Coast of Vietnam.
Over a decade ago, before graduating from pharmacy school, I had a chance to stay in Vietnam with a few classmates for our last rotation. During the day, we were busy with work at the hospital. At night, we would meander through Nha Trang’s famous seafood market looking for our next meal. The freshest shellfish were cooked in front of our eyes while we salivated over the wonderful aroma permeating the air. Most of the time, the dishes offered were simple but delicious like these Vietnamese lemongrass beer steamed clams.
Clams: I usually buy manila clams or littleneck clams. It’s important to use fresh live clams for the best taste. Pick clams with shells tightly closed. If the shells are open, give them a quick tap. If they don’t close, discard them. Just before cooking, soak the clams in a large pot of cold water for 30 minutes. Drain well, being sure to remove all sand.
Aromatics: For this recipe I used lemongrass, shallots, and garlic. The lemongrass brings the main flavor for this dish. Use only the young, pale green parts and discard the thicker outer stalks.
Beer: I tried this recipe with different beers and my favorites are the ones with a less bitter profile. If I find the bitter taste too strong, I’ll adjust the amount of sugar to balance the bitterness. You only need about 1 cup of beer.
Slurping up these delicious Vietnamese lemongrass beer steamed clams brings me right back to those beautiful evenings in Nha Trang. Simply infused with aromatics like lemongrass, garlic, and shallots, this clam dish is to be savored with a nice cold glass of beer. This recipe takes 15 minutes to throw together and is the perfect appetizer for warm weather entertaining.
Vietnamese lemongrass beer steamed clams
- 2 lbs Manila clams
- 4 stalks of lemongrass, use only young pale green parts
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup of beer
- ½ tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- Using the back of a knife, gently smash the root ends of the lemongrass stalk to release the flavor. Slice each stalk crosswise into 2 inch batons.
- Heat a large pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the oil, shallot, garlic, and lemongrass and saute for 5 minutes or until aromatic but not burnt.
- Add the beer and bring it to a boil. Stir in the fish sauce and sugar until dissolved.
- Add the clams and cover the pot with a lid and them steam until clams have opened. It will take about 5-8 minutes.
- Transfer the clams and juices to a serving platter. Serve immediately with Vietnamese coriander and bird’s eye chile.