The idea to add noodles to the classic Chinese dish of clams with black bean sauce isn't exactly a huge leap from the original, but as soon as I got the idea, I was determined to get it right. Though seemingly simple (just add noodles to the old dish, right?) achieving the right balance between the sauce, the shellfish, and the noodles took a little more effort than expected. After some initial tries at stir-frying the noodles along with the clams, I decided to cook the noodles separately and only combine things at the very end.
Still, even when I did this, something felt like it was missing. It wasn't until I hit on the idea of adding bok choy that this started looking like a full meal. The vegetable adds some crunch, along with some much needed color.
The rest is pretty straightforward. The clams steam in a flavorful and fragrant mixture. When they open, they are removed, the bok choy is added in, and the remaining liquid is turned into the silky smooth black bean sauce. Meanwhile, the noodles cook in boiling water. When done, they are drained, rinsed, and divided between the two bowls. Then you just have to combine the two. The only thing I could think of adding to improve this was a little drizzle of chile oil for some heat.