Sò lông (Anadara subcrenata), litterally means “hairy clam” in Vietnamese, is an ark clam in the family Arcidae. Hairy ark clam is highly aquacultured in Kiên Giang province of Vietnam, and quite common in Vietnamese cuisine. Hairy ark clam can be made into great dishes like sweet and sour hairy ark clam (sò lông xào chua ngọt), steamed hairy ark clam with lemongrass (sò lông hấp sả), cucumber salad with hairy ark clam (dưa leo trộn sò lông) and the most common dish grilled hairy ark clam in spring onion oil (sò lông nướng mỡ hành).
“Mỡ hành” in Vietnam’s cuisine is a mixture of melted lard and chopped scallions. The type of scallion in this mixture is spring onion (Allium fistulosum), also known as long green onion, Welsh onion or bunching onion. When lard is not available, the mixture can be done by frying chopped spring onions in oil, sometimes in a mixture of oil and butter. For simplicity, “mỡ hành” can be translated into English as “spring onion in oil” or “spring onion oil sauce”. Often, the “spring onion in oil” mixture is paired with crushed peanuts in grill dishes.
You may try using a clam knife to open the clams, or poaching clams in a pot. In a pot, pour in 1 cup of water and bring to the boil. Add a crushed lemongrass stalk and a tablespoon of rice wine, then add the clams into the pot, turn off the heat when the clams open. Let them cool off and remove the upper shells of each clam.
In a small bowl, add chopped spring onion leaves, a teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of MSG, a teaspoon of granule seasoning, a teapoon of oyster sauce, and 1/3 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Stir the mixture up. Heat 100 ml (1/2 cup) of sesame oil in a saucepan, then pour the hot oil onto the spring onion bowl, and stir until the onions are cooked.
In a mortar, add 2 tablespoon of granulated salt, 2 tablespoon of granulated sugar, 2 bird's eye chillis. Use a pestle to grind until the mixture is viscous in texture. Pour in kumquat juice and lime leaves (chiffonade), stir until the condiment ingredients are dissolved.
Drizzle each clam with about 1 teaspoon of the spring onion oil, and place the clams on a grill and cook until you see the boiling oil in clams. Place the cooked clams on a serving plate, garnish the clams with crushed peanuts, and add some extra Vietnamese mint leaves. If you cook with an airfryer, cook for 5 mins at 200 ° C (390°F).
Bigger clams have better taste.
Don't cook too long, or the clams will be very rubbery.
If you poach the clams, use little water and high heat, and poach quickly.