Mussels Asian Style

Mussels, with the subtle Asian flavours of ginger, lime and a touch of chilli, makes a light and delicious meal suitable for many occasions and diets.

Many people eat mussels only when dining out. Here is a recipe that may encourage you to incorporate this tasty, cheap and nutritious food into your own cooking repertoire. They are a good source of protein and, served with a side salad and bread, make a complete meal for a dinner party or a quick supper.

The hesitation in cooking mussels is the preparation. Care and a little common sense are essential. You will easily identify a ‘rogue’ mussel by a broken shell or one that does not close.

Usually, mussels are bought cleaned, ie most of the barnacles have been removed. However, they still require repeatedly rinsing to remove any residue of grit from both the outside and inside. This process, an hour is more than adequate, is required to allow the mussels to clean themselves and you do not need to be actively involved throughout.

Diets for which Mussels Asian Style are suitable:

Diabetic, Diary Free, Fodmap, Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Low Fat, Nut Free and Paleo.


Preparation: 45+ mins | Cook: 30 + 5 mins | Serves: 2+

1 kg (2 lb) mussels
2 tbsp millet*
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, crushed (not Fodmap)**
1 tbsp grated ginger
3 tbsp spring onion, green tops only***
1 tsp harissa or fresh chilli
1 lime, zest and juice
2 tsp fish sauce
3 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp tamari
500 ml (2 cups) water
1 cup coriander leaves


RINSE the mussels repeatedly in fresh water, removing sand and grit.
SCRUB the mussels, if required, and remove the ‘beard’ hanging between the lips of the closed shell. (Discard any mussel with a broken shell.)
RINSE repeatedly until the water is clean.
ADD 2 tablespoon of millet to the mussels in a basin of water. (This encourages the mussels to discard any sand that remains in the shell.)
LEAVE to stand for 30 minutes or more.
DISCARD any mussels that have not closed their shell after this repeated cleaning and soaking process.
HEAT the oil in a large pan. (This process can be undertaken while cleaning the mussels.)
COOK, gently the garlic, ginger, spring onion and Harissa.
ADD the lime zest and juice, fish sauce, mirin, tamari and water.
BOIL for 10-15 minutes until the volume of liquid has reduced in volume.
ADD the cleaned mussels, cover and cook for five minutes. (Shake regularly to ensure they heat evenly.)
REMOVE from the oven top and discard any mussel that remain closed.
TOP with coriander.


– Immediately with side plates to discard the empty shells.


* Replace millet with oats (for Gluten Free diet use Gluten Free oats).
** Omit the garlic for Fodmap diet.
*** Replace with shallots or spring onion (not Fodmap).


– Roast 2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds and 6 cloves. Make a paste with these seeds, 2 garlic cloves, 2 shallots, 1 red chilli, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tbsp chopped ginger and oil as required to blend. Fry the paste, adding the 1 kg cleaned mussels and covering the pan to allow them to steam and open. Add 1/4 cup coconut milk and generous amount chopped coriander. Serve. (This combination of flavourings is not suitable for a Fodmap diet with the garlic and onion.)

Other dishes with Asian Flavours:

Chinese Fish Parcels
Ginger Rice
Sweet Chilli Sauce

Leave a Reply