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Spicy Mussels with Ginger and Lemongrass

Large green-shelled mussels are farmed along the coast of New Zealand and exported around the world. The spicy aromatic broth that Auckland cookbook author Annabel Langbein uses here reflects the influence of New Zealand's growing Asian population on its cuisine.

slideshow Amazing Seafood Recipes

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh lemongrass, tender inner white bulb only
  • 1 jalapeño, partially seeded and minced
  • 2 1/2 pounds mussels, preferably from New Zealand, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro


  1. Heat the canola oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the ginger, lemongrass and jalapeño and cook over high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the mussels and water and toss to coat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a large, deep bowl; discard any mussels that do not open.
  2. Carefully pour any accumulated mussel liquid back into the skillet. Stir in the brown sugar, Asian fish sauce, unsalted butter and minced cilantro. Pour the pan sauce over the mussels and serve immediately.

Serve With

Crusty bread, steamed spinach and lime wedges.

Suggested Pairing

A refreshingly acidic, lean-bodied Sauvignon Blanc is a nice contrast to the briny mussels and fragrant broth here.

Contributed By Photo © Kieran Scott Published September 2002

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