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Spicy Mussels

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You are going to love these spicy mussels done south Indian style!

I love mussels and cook them all the time. This recipe for spicy mussels is one of my favourites.

I learned the recipe while visiting Kerala in southern India. It was so good, I couldn’t wait to try making them for my family back home.

The flavours work so well together. Yes, these are spicy mussels but they aren’t fiery hot. This is a delicious blend of both warming and spicy spices.


Mussels of Southern Indian

Try coming up with a new version of these mussels


How to prepare your mussels…

Many people are afraid to cook mussels due to stories about getting ill. 

That really isn’t necessary! If you prepare your mussels correctly, you should not have any problem and will certainly have an amazing meal. 

Rinse them and pull off the beard-like bits if necessary. When you tap the mussels, they should close tightly. If they don’t, they’re dead and you should discard them.

Once cleaned, place in the fridge under a some damp newspaper until ready to cook.

Was wine in the original recipe?

Nope. But I like it and it so in it went. You can always leave it out but I like to open the bottle and have a glass or two while I’m cooking. 

Wine is a delicious part of the broth for these spicy mussels. Sometimes being authentic just doesn’t appeal to me. 

Working ahead…

You can do pretty much everything up to actually cooking the mussels ahead of time.

If working ahead of time suites your lifestyle, go for it. 

Can I use frozen mussels?

Yes. I usually use fresh because they are so easily sourced where I live. 

I have tried this recipe for spicy mussels with frozen mussels and it was still awesome. 

In fact, you could also use fresh or frozen clams. It just wouldn’t be called spicy mussels. 

How to serve spicy mussels…

When I learned this recipe, I was served the spicy mussels with red rice or matta rice. You could also serve them with Basmati rice. 

This dish is also amazing served with crusty French bread or naans to soak up the sauce. 

If you like this recipe for spicy mussels, you might also like to try some of these…

Easy prawn curry
Malabar fish curry
White fish curry
Keralan fish curry
Spicy fish curry with coconut

Yield: 4

A Mussels Recipe Inspired By The Recipes Of Coastal India

A Mussels Recipe Inspired By The Recipes Of Coastal India
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 kilo live mussels - de-beaded and cleaned
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 20 curry leaves - (I don't actually count them by the way.)
  • 4 shallots - finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 3 fresh green chilies - finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 400ml thick coconut milk
  • 200ml double cream
  • 175ml dry white wine (optional)
  • A pinch of saffron - soaked in a little warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or jaggery
  • 1 small bunch of fresh coriander - finely chopped


  1. Melt the butter in a large pan that has a tight fitting lid over medium heat.
  2. When the butter has melted, throw in the mustard seeds. They'll start pop, pop, popping in about 30 seconds. This is your cue to toss in the curry leaves and chopped shallots.
  3. Fry until the shallots turn soft and translucent.
  4. Now add the chopped chillies, garlic and ginger and stir to combine.
  5. Pour in the wine and coconut milk and bring to a rolling bubble.
  6. Toss the mussels in and cover with the lid to let them steam for about four minutes.
  7. They are ready when the shells open.
  8. Add the cream, saffron milk, and turmeric and the sugar.
  9. Check for seasoning, sprinkle with the chopped coriander and serve immediately.
  10. I like to serve these mussels with freshly baked naans but French bread is a good substitute.

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I hope you enjoy my recipe for spicy mussels. If you do give it a try, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.


Wednesday 11th of October 2023

Hi Dan, would love to make this but can’t get curry leaves anywhere. What would you suggest as a substitute? Thanks

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 17th of October 2023

There isn’t a substitute for curry leaves so just leave them out if you can’t get fresh ones. Definitely don’t compromise with dried ones as they are tasteless. Thanks Dan


Friday 20th of April 2012

The Indian Mussels recipe sounds amazing and I've got two tins of coconut milk in the cupboard which I was going to use for Thai red curry but I think my red curry can wait. I'll put more chilies in my Indian mussels but other than that, I shan't change a thing.

Dan Toombs

Friday 20th of April 2012

Great to hear Michelle.

To be honest I use a lot more chillies. I just keep my recipes a bit milder so I don't get any complaints. I hope you like the mussels as much as I do. Be sure not to be a stranger and let me know.

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