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Monday, August 8, 2011

Hến Xúc Bánh Tráng (Clams with Sesame Rice Crackers)

Hến xúc bánh tráng is one of my husband's favorite appetizers; it's simple, flavorful and easy to make. The guys would actually enjoy making this one and show off to their friends during a football game or a birthday party; nothing would motivate a guy more than bragging rights. Once they're hooked, you can ask them to cook it and there would be no resistance. How nice would that be? 

The mixture of the soft clams together with the crunchiness of the rice crackers give us a great contrast in texture. But this dish is really a delight for your taste buds. The multiple spices of fermented shrimp sauce, ground black pepper, Vietnamese coriander, salt, sugar, shallots and red hot peppers will really add a burst of flavors. And it really goes well with beer, wine, or wine cooler. 

Hến xúc bánh tráng is a wonderful appetizer that will offer variety in both taste and texture; it's simple to make but offers a distinct and sophisticated flavor.
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RECIPE: Hến Xúc Bánh Tráng


1 can of 51 oz Chopped Sea Clams (available at Sam's Club), drained
2 tablespoons finely chopped Lemongrass 
1/2 tablespoon of Fermented Shrimp Sauce (Mắm Ruốc)
1 teaspoon Fish Sauce
2 tablespoons of minced Shallot
2 tablespoons of minced Garlic
1/2 Sweet Onion, diced
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 bunch of Vietnamese Coriander (rau răm), chopped
1/2 tablespoon Roasted Sesame Seeds or chopped Roasted Peanuts or both
Roasted Sesame Rice Crackers (Bánh Tráng Nướng) or
Shrimp or Garlic Chips or
Fried Shallots, optional
1 fresh Chili Pepper, sliced, optional
Lime Wedges
Cooking Clams

Combine all the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

In a pan, heat oil and saute shallot, garlic and lemongrass.

Once the mixture is slightly golden, add the clams and mixed seasoning. Stir for about a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat. Add onion and mix well.

Let it cool a little bit then add Vietnamese coriander (rau răm). Mix well. 


Transfer it to a serving plate and sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds or chopped roasted peanuts then top with slices of chili pepper. Garnish with lime wedges.  Serve with rice crackers, or shrimp  or garlic chips, or endives.



  1. Hi,
    thank you so much for posting this recipe w. detail!
    My bf is viet so i love vietnamese food now and i have been meaning to cook this but all the recipes online were in vietnamese. Thank you thank you thank you!

  2. You're welcome. Have fun making it!
    btw, if you buy frozen baby clams in a bag from Asian store, make sure you rinse, drain and blot dry with a paper towel. These baby clams sometimes have lots of sand and need to be washed a few times.

  3. Love it!!! you're great cook!!!

  4. Is the sweet onion you use for this recipe the same as red onion? Can I use Banh phong tom in place of sesame rice crackers? Thank you!

    1. Sweet onion can range in color from white to yellow. It usually labeled as "sweet onion". But u don't have to use sweet onion, u can use any kind of onion. Banh trang or Banh phong Tom would work great.

  5. Hi Loan,
    Your recipe & presentation looks delicious! Can this recipe be made the night before & what is the best way to warm it up prior to serving the next day?
    Thank you!

    1. sure you can make it a night before. This dish can be served as a cold dish but if you want to serve it warm the next day, don't mix the herbs together with clams. You can just microwave the clams then add herbs and nuts. The best way is preparing everything that night and store them in individual ziplog bags. Next day, you just cook the clams and mix everything together. It takes less than 10 minutes to create this dish if you prepare all the ingredients ahead.

  6. I think ur recipe left out nuoc mam?

    1. Thanks for catching it Jenni :-).
      I took out the fish sauce on purpose. You can add a teaspoon of it with other ingredient if preferred.

  7. In the picture where you're sautéing the garlic, shallots, and lemongrass -- are there green onions in it too? There appears to be a lot of bright green in the pan. Also, what does the comment above regarding the fish sauce mean? You have 1 tsp of fish sauce listed in your ingredients, so what did you mean by "I took out the fish sauce on purpose"?

    1. The bright green in the pan could be lemongrass. The frozen store bought chopped lemongrass usually has the bright green color due to artificial coloring. It's best to use the fresh lemongrass and chop it finely.

      I did remove the fish sauce from the recipe but then I added it back because it tastes better with fish sauce in it.