Recipe: Thai-style Mussels

When I attended Mida Food’s 20th anniversary luncheon, each guest were given a bag full of frozen seafood—scallops, bacalao, softshell crab, prawns, and mussels—as a giveaway. The distributor of premium fresh and frozen seafood is known for its quality frozen products through its retail brand Pacific Bay. I immediately thought of various recipes for the seafood. I wanted to do something different for the mussels. It’s a pound of good shellfish, important from New Zealand, which was also already pre-cooked. I browsed the web and found Jamie Oliver’s Thai-style recipe. It looked simple and easy so I tried it and tweaked it a bit.

Ingredients

1 kg. mussels
1 1/2 cups fresh coconut cream
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 stalk lemon grass
1 tsp. cilantro stalks
2 pcs. bird’s eye chili (or Thai chili), chopped
1 pc. lime
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Procedure

1. Clean mussels or ask your fishmonger to do this for you. Steam or boil them for about 5 minutes until they open up. Discard any mussel that remained closed. Set aside about a cup of the water you used to cook the mussels.
2. Prep the lemon grass and cilantro. Pound the white part of the stalk until it cracks and opens up. Cut stalk into one-inch pieces. Then, separate the leaves of the cilantro from the stalks. Chop the stalks into small pieces.
3. In a pot, saute garlic and onions in vegetable oil for about 2 minutes, then add lemon grass and cilantro stalks and saute for another 2 minutes. Add coconut cream and water. Wait until it boils.
4. When boiling, add fish sauce and chili. Stir and taste, add salt if necessary. Add more chili if you want it extra spicy. Then add cooked mussels, stir and let simmer uncovered for about 2 minutes.
5. Turn off heat and squeeze lime over the mussels and mix. Serve in a bowl and garnish with cilantro leaves and lime wedges. Enjoy!

Serves 2 to 3

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Recipe: Mussel Soup with Moringa

Tinola is a staple Filipino soup dish that uses any kind of protein, like chicken, pork, or seafood. My favorite kind of this dish is tinolang tahong, which uses mussels. I love mussels whether in soup, baked, or grilled form. What I also like about this dish is it’s super healthy. Aside from the protein, vitamin B-12, and iron you get from the mussels, the moringa (malunggay in Filipino) leaves makes the dish even healthier. Moringa is a very common vegetable here in the Philippines and is used in many dishes. It is also considered a super food because it’s a good source of vitamin C, calcium, potassium, vitamin A, among others.

Ingredients

500 grams (1 lb.) mussels
1 cup fresh moringa leaves
4 cups rice water
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 thumb of ginger, julienned
1 yellow onion, chopped
Salt and pepper

Procedure

1. Wash mussels thoroughly. Let sit in salt water for 30 minutes to let mussels expel impurities naturally. Scrub any impurity on the shells.
2. Wash about two cups of uncooked rice in a bowl with 4 cups of water. Drain but save the water. This is the rice water. This is commonly used in vegetable dishes as it also helps thicken the soup because of the starch.
3. In a pot, saute garlic, ginger, and onion for about three minutes or until fragrant and onions are translucent. Then put in cleaned mussels and rice water. Wait until it boils. Mussels should open up, any mussel that does not open must be discarded. Season with salt and pepper.
4. When mussels are have opened up, turn off heat and add moringa leaves. Stir, cover, and let sit for five minutes. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Serves 4