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Q&A

When stir frying clams, why thicken the black bean sauce with corn starch?

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4 Remove the lid and stir up the cornstarch mixture, add it to the pant and continue stirring until thickened. Transfer the clams to a serving dish and garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately.

Helen's Asian Kitchen: Easy Chinese Stir-Fries. p. 90. Her similar post online.

In her foreword on p. 10, Chen writes

Why is cornstarch important?

Marinating meats and seafood with a little wine and cornstarch before cooking helps to seal in the juices, keeping the ingredients moist and tender when stir-fried. And because cornstarch quickly creates a translucent, thickened sauce, it is perfect for the rapid cooking style of stir frying. (Flour, on the other hand, requires a longer cooking time to remove that raw, flour taste.) When using cornstarch to thicken sauces and gravies, always mix it thoroughly with a little water before adding to hot liquids.

Chen adds corn starch to almost all recipes in this book. I still don't understand why, especially for clams?

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5 comments

How does the last part you quoted not answer the question? Olin Lathrop‭ 3 months ago

@OlinLathrop It doesn't answer my question, because why thicken the sauce when you're serving clams? Unlike other meat and seafood where the sauce touches the flesh and you eat the flesh, here most of the sauce will end up on the clam shells. But you can't eat clam shells! Chgg Clou‭ 3 months ago

@ChggClou might as well ask why bother putting sauce at all then. Moshi‭ 3 months ago

You asked "Why add corn starch?". The last paragraph you quote directly answers that (creates a … thickened sauce). Now you are asking "Why do we want thickened sauce?", in a comment no less. That's a different question. If that was your real question, you should have asked it. If we explain why thickened sauce is desirable, are you then going to complain we didn't answer why we want sauce at all? -1 for the runaround. Olin Lathrop‭ 3 months ago

@OlinLathrop Can we just take this easy? I'm not a logic machine. Apology if I miff the reasoning. Chgg Clou‭ 3 months ago

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