Thursday, February 19, 2015

Clams with Black Bean Sauce

Happy Chinese New Year!

This is the anniversary of 5 Element Food - I started it on Chinese New Year - the Year of the Tiger, which was 5 years ago!  I'm actually amazed that I am still coming up with recipes from my past and now I am creating more new recipes all the time.  Thanks for being part of this blog - it's been really fun!  

So, in honor of this Chinese New Year - the Year of the Sheep, I am making many lucky foods.  Here's a list of foods that you are supposed to make and eat to celebrate.  Of course, you don't need to eat everything on it for good luck - you can pick and choose what kind of luck you want. 

Bamboo Shoots for Wealth and Happiness
Chicken for Happiness in Marriage or Relationship
Clams - Money
Daikon Radish for Good Omens
Dried Bean Curd for Happiness
Eggs for Fertility and Creativity
Fish – Whole - for Abundant Wealth - the head and tail indicate a good beginning and end of the year
Five Vegetable Stir-Fry – Gives the Five Blessings of Longevity, Riches, Peace, Wisdom and Virtue
Greens for Abundance
Lettuce for Rising Fortune and a Fresh Start
Lily Buds (dried) - Prosperity
Lotus Root for Continuing Wealth
Lotus Seed for Children
Lychees for Close Family Ties
Meatballs for Reunions
Noodles for Long Life
Oranges/Tangerines for Luck and Wealth (esp. good with leaves attached)
Pomelo – Continuous Prosperity and Status
Potstickers and Egg Rolls for Wealth
Rice for Abundance
Rice Cakes – both sweet and savory – A Higher Year
Peanuts for Long Life
Sea Moss for Prosperity
Shitake Mushrooms to Fulfill Wishes
Sweets – a Sweet Life in the New Year
Preserved Kumquats for Prosperity
Coconut for Togetherness
Watermelon seeds for Happiness and many Children and Grandchildren
Dates for Early Prosperity

I have a party every year, but in keeping with the calmer Sheep, it's going to be a smaller and calmer gathering.  Many of my favorite Chinese New Year dishes have already been posted and I still make them and serve them every year - Potstickers, Spring Rolls, Pearl Balls and Buddha's Delight to name just a few.

So, I will be giving you some new ones over the next few days. Today's recipe is Clams with Black Bean Sauce.  Clams symbolize money and even better, the represent holding onto money.  And in this recipe, they are delicious as well as lucky!

Clams with Black Bean Sauce

2 tablespoons Fermented Black Beans, rinsed and mashed (can also use already mashed in a jar but then don't add Tamari)
1 Tablespoon Tamari (or Soy Sauce)
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 cup diluted Chicken Broth (1/2 broth and half water)
1 onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 each Red and Green Pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 pounds clams, rinsed
2 Tablespoons Oil
Optional for a thicker sauce:  1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 Tablespoon water

In a small bowl, mix together the mashed Black Beans, the Tamari, the Sugar and the Chicken Broth. 

Heat a wok or frying pan and then add oil until it is shimmering.  Add the onions, garlic and peppers and stir-fry until the onion is translucent and just beginning to brown.  Remove to a plate and reserve. 

Then add the clams and the black bean sauce mixture and cook until the shells open – about 5 minutes.

Return the onions and peppers to the pan and toss to mix well. If desired, add in the cornstarch and stir just until sauce thickens. Serve with steamed white rice or steamed buns.

Five Element Analysis

Clams belong to the Water Element and the Tamari adds even more. The Chicken Broth contributes some of the Wood Element and the Onions and Garlic all add the Metal Element.  The Fire Element is represented by the Red and Green Peppers.  Only the Earth Element is missing so be sure to serve another dish that includes an Earthy food.

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