Blog Menu

Grilled Littleneck Clams with Soy Sauce

Grilled littleneck clams are an iconic Tokyo dish, especially in the old fishermen neighborhoods that ring Tokyo Bay, which was once teeming with shellfish. Called yakihama (from hamaguri, a kind of large clam available in Japan), this cooking tradition reaches back hundreds of years. The littleneck clams that are available here are a good substitute. Mitsuba is a fresh-tasting Japanese herb. If you can’t find it, you can use cilantro or even slivered scallion greens.

Prep Time

        Prep and cook time: 25 minutes
        Yield: Serves 4


    •    1/4 cup sake
    •    1/2 cup soy sauce
    •    24 littleneck clams
    •    1/4 cup chopped mitsuba (Optional); you can substitute cilantro or julienned scallion greens


  1. Preheat your grill to medium hot.
  2. Rinse the clams under cold running water to remove any caked-on sand or mud. Let drain.
  3. Whisk together the soy sauce and sake.
  4. Place about 1/3 to 1/2 of the clams directly on the grill rack. Wait patiently for them to start to open, which should take anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes. As soon as the clams begin to open, working quickly and carefully, use 2 pairs of tongs or 1 pair of tongs and a large spoon to carefully pry open the shells completely. Pour about 1 teaspoon of the soy mixture over each clam. Discard any clams that do not open.
  5. Continue to grill the clams undisturbed. As soon as the sauce begin to froth and boil which should take about 1 minute, use the tongs to remove the clams and their juices from the grill. Be careful not to overcook the clams or they will turn rubbery. Garnish with the mitsuba, if desired and serve immediately.

This great family recipe is thanks to Leite's CULINARIA at


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published