Cooking Steamed Mussels

Cooking mussels (or tahong in the Philippines) is easy, really. This steamed mussels recipe is Thai-inspired. It has lots of herbs and spices. And as with my many recipes, I'm cooking steamed mussels with no artificial seasonings or any kind of MSG. 


One quick disclaimer, I'm sticking with cooking steamed mussels for this post, rather than mussel soup or boiled mussels since it's the mussels, not the soup that I really do enjoy in this meal. I suppose if you've tried the dish, you would also like the mussel meat more than its soup.

Cooking Steamed Mussels

We seldom have mussels at home. In cooking steamed mussels, baked or otherwise, I want to make sure that I have fresh ones. I don't like frozen mussels. I'd either buy them fresh from the market or not have them at all. 

Before cooking steamed mussels, leave them under water for about 30 minutes first. This is to force out the undigested foods in the mussels intestines. Of course, you can only do this when the mussels you bought are fresh ones or are still alive.

Now, after they "throw up", you are ready to cook!

Ingredients in cooking steamed mussels:
- mussels, washed and prepped

Cooking Steamed Mussels

- holy basil leaves, de-stemmed and thoroughly washed
- kaffir lime leaves, de-stemmed and thoroughly washed
- lemongrass, bruised and crushed
- galangal, bruised and crushed

Cooking Steamed Mussels

- chili, chopped
- garlic, crushed
- onions, chopped
- fish sauce
- pepper
- water

Let's start cooking steamed mussels.
1. Put the following ingredients in a pot.
  • garlic
  • onions
  • kaffir lime leaves
  • lemongrass (Lemongrass is also used in marinating chicken in other Asian cuisine)
  • galangal
Cooking Steamed Mussels

Don't mistake galangal for a ginger. While the 2 have semblance with each other; they have apparent differences. For one, the skin of galangal is thinner than that of a ginger. Also, galangal's flesh is softer than a ginger's.

2. Add water.
3. Season with fish sauce and pepper.

Cooking Steamed Mussels

4. Put to a boil.
5. When the pot boils, add the mussels.
6. Add the basil leaves and chili in the pot. Stir well.

Thais put a lot of chili in this dish. You'll be sweating like a runner after having several servings of their steamed mussels.
7. Bring to a boil, once more.
8. Wait for the mussels to open.
9. When they do, the dish is ready for serving.

Mussels cook quite fast. When they open their shells, the dish is ready. When you leave them too long under heat, they'll shrink and may even have a chewy texture.

10. Serve while hot.
Cooking Steamed Mussels

This dish goes well with any fried dish.

Remember me when you cook!
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