Hến xúc bánh tráng or sauteed baby clams served with rice crackers is a classic beer accompaniment dish in Vietnam. It is an easy appetizer to make for snacking anytime of the day. The combination of soft baby clams with crunchy rice cracker is addicting. The medley of clams with various herbs provide for a burst of flavor in your mouth. Enjoy this classic dish today.
Difficulty: Easy / Servings: 4 / Time: 30 minutes
1 package of sesame rice paper
2 and 1/2 cups of baby clams (frozen or from a can)
1/2 teaspoon Knorr chicken bouillon seasoning
1 tablespoon of julienne ginger
1/2 cup of rau ram (Vietnamese Coriander) or use Thai basil if coriander is not available
1 Jalapeno pepper
1/4 red bell pepper
1 yellow onion
3 stalks of scallions
1 tablespoon of minced lemongrass
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of unsalted roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 and 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of water or clam juice
Optional: Fried red onions and Thai basil for toppings
Mince the 4 cloves of garlic.
Dice half of an onion and cut the other half into thin slices. Mince 1 tablespoon of lemongrass.
Rough chop 1/2 cup of rau ram (Vetnamese coriander) and dice 3 stalks of scallions.
Cube 1 tablespoon of red bell pepper and slice the remainder of the bell pepper into 7 or 8 long pieces.
Julien ginger, roughly 1 inch lengthwise, for approximately 1 tablespoon.
Using a food process, lightly pulse 1/4 cup of roasted peanuts. Beware of turning the peanuts into a powder.
Thoroughly rinse the clams and set aside. Marinate 2 and 1/2 cup of clams with 1/2 teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder, 1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of sugar.
Heat a large pan on high with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add 1/2 tablespoon of minced lemongrass, 2 tablespoons of diced onion, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of cubed red bell pepper.
Once the garlic turns golden, add clams and sauté for 3 minutes. Add 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of fish sauce and all of the onion slices, bell pepper, ginger and scallions. Add 1 tablespoon of water or clam juice. Continue to sauté until the onion becomes translucent, approximately a few minutes. Remove from the heat.
Add rau ram (Vietnamese coriander) and stir. If you do not have rau ram, just add Thai basil. Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper.
Microwave 1 rice paper at a time for 1 minute on each side until it puffs up. Be careful not to burn the rice paper.
Garnish the clams with thin slices of jalapeno pepper. Top the dish with 1/4 cup of roasted peanuts and some fried onions. Shred some basil leaves and add to the dish for additional flavor.