This dish, called so hap xa, is Vietnam's
version of the French classic, moules mariniere. Here the mussels are
steamed open in a herb-infused stock with lemon grass and chili instead of
wine and parsley. It is a popular Vietnamese method of steaming clams and
snails. Beer is sometimes used instead of stock and it makes a rich,
Chicken stock or beer, or a mixture of the two
Green or red Thai chili, seeded and finely chopped
Shallots, finely chopped
Lemon grass, finely chopped
Fresh mussels, cleaned and bearded
Ground black pepper
Pour the stock into a deep pan. Add the
chili, shallots, lemon grass and ginger leaves.
Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 10-15
minutes to let the flavors infuse, then season to taste with salt and
Discard any mussels that remain open when
sharply tapped, then tip the remaining mussels into the stock.
Give the pan a good shake, cover and cook
for 2 minutes, or until the mussels have opened.
Discard any that remain closed. Ladle the
mussels into individual bowls, making sure everyone gets some of the
Aromatic ginger leaves are hard to find
outside Asia. If you can't find them, basil or coriander (cilantro) will
work well in this recipe.