My husband rarely makes food requests - he's happy to go along with whatever there is. Last weekend though, he demanded Paella. With mussels. I bought 2kilos - one went into the paella and the other was left over. Till I poached them in a classic Chinese recipe, commonly made with chicken.
Now my love for mussels extends from Beer and wine steamed to the aforementioned Spanish rice dish...and my hates - battered.
For me, this recipe transcended the loves - a hint of heat and spice, a flash of a rich wine flavour and meaty mussels.
I attempted to flambé the rice wine....just because but its low alcohol content prevented it from being an impressive stovetop fire. Well, in the name of science and contest, I attempted it.
My son also ended up adopting a mussel which he named 'Milo' - I enthralled him by putting an uncooked mussel in a small transparent jar and then poured in some hot water. His eyes lit up when it opened up...........and he proclaimed Milo his......forever. The determination of an almost 4 year old —Kitchen Butterfly
What You'll Need
250ml Shaosing rice wine
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
3-4 sprigs coriander leaves and stems
small knob of ginger, sliced and bruised
1 red bird's eye chili, split in half (and seeds removed if you don't want too much heat)
60g palm sugar
1 kg of cleaned, debearded mussels
To garnish: coriander leaves, spring onions and red chili pepper
Warm the rice wine on medium heat till almost hot - then add the cardamom powder and proceed to flambé with by lighting the surface with a long-stemmed kitchen lighter. the flames may be ever so gentle.....sigh. get over it, move on
Add the mirin, water, coriander leaves, ginger, chili and palm sugar. Stir together to combine and let warm up. Then add the mussels, gently shake the pan and put a lid over it to cook on medium. Let the mussels cook about 5-6 minutes or until they open up
Remove from heat and discard those they remain closed. Serve in a large deep bowl with some broth at the base to keep the mussels moist. Top with garnishes of coriander leaves and finely sliced/diced red chilli