Vietnamese Recipes & Cuisines (Seafood)

Spicy Grilled Mussels Recipe

Mussels should only be cooked live. Select only those with their shells tightly shut. Before cooking, soak the mussels in water for about 1 hour to extract sand particles. Then remove the beards - the brown tuft between the shells - with a firm tug or a sharp knife. As a rule of thumb, never eat mussels that do not open after cooking.

Ingredients : Serves 6-8

1 kg

250 ml

1 teaspoon

2 teaspoons

1/2 teaspoon

1 sprig


Spice Paste

1 stem


2 cloves





Fresh mussels, with shells

Thick coconut milk


Fish sauce, nuoc cham


Fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, for garnishing



Lemon grass



Dried red chili, cut in lengths, soaked to soften

Chili padi (bird's-eye chili) or red chili

Fresh galangal root

Kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced

Method :
  • Scrub the mussels and put in a large saucepan.

  • Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, then put the lid on and steam over medium heat just until the mussels open. Once they open, remove the pan from the fire immediately and when cool enough to handle, discard one shell of each mussel.

  • Place each mussel in its half-shell on a grilling pan. If necessary, put in a layer of coarse salt to hold the mussels level.

  • To prepare the spice paste, cut off the thick bottom one-third of the lemon grass stalk and discard the rest. Remove the dried outer layers of the stalk.

  • Grind the lemon grass and the other ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth, adding some coconut milk if the mixture gets too dry.

  • Put the spice paste in a small saucepan and add the coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce and salt. Simmer gently, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

  • Do not allow the coconut milk to boil as it will separate. Set aside to cool.

  • Just before serving, spoon a bit of the sauce evenly over each mussel and cook under a hot grill for 4-5 minutes.

  • Serve hot or warm with nuoc cham dipping sauce.

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