Sep 5, 2007

Spicy New Zealand Mussels

With the rains coming after a long dry spell we may be having a Red Tide soon. The red tide, as you probably know, is the "reddening" of sea water due to the emergence of planktons that feed on wastes washed away to the sea by rain. The red tide poisons marine life, and people have actually died from eating fish and seafood tainted by the red tide.

Mussels, being sedentary creatures are perennial victims of the red tide. When the rains come, even without a red tide alert, we usually avoid buying mussels at the market, to be on the safe side.

Fortunately, supermarkets now carry imported and local mussels, some of them totally removed from the shell, some of them in the half shell, ready for baking. We were so happy to find New Zealand mussels in the frozen seafood section of the South Supermarket in Alabang. A box of about 500g. cost P310.00 on the average, and considering they were amazingly large (2 1/2" long), fleshy and fresh (not to mention being from the much cleaner waters of NZ), I'd say it was a good buy.

The mussels came in the half-shell and parboiled, making them ideal for baking but we were hankering for something spicy and so came Spicy Mussels.


What's In It?

500g. NZ mussels, thawed
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
5-6 tablespoons Lee Kum Kee chili garlic sauce*
5-6 tablespoons reduced-sodium oyster sauce*
2 stalks leeks, cut into 1/2" strips
5-6 stalks green onions, cut into 1/2" strips
3 tablespoons cooking oil

Kitchen Conjugations:

Heat cooking oil in a wok. Add in chili garlic sauce, stir fry for 30 seconds then add in onions. Saute for another 30 minutes.

Add in mussels and oyster sauce, stir and toss to coat for one minute. (If you're using raw mussels, this part should take 2 to 2 1/2 minutes or until the shells open.) Stir in leeks and cook for another minute. Add in 1/4 cup water if a little sauce is desired. Top with green onion slices and serve.

Great with white wine. :)

1. Lee Kum Kee Chili Garlic Sauce is available in most supermarkets, some in sachets good for one dish, costing P20.00 (or less). If unavailable, substitute with diced chili, a little sugar, salt and diced garlic.

2. I use reduced-sodium oyster sauce because we need to watch our sodium levels. (Doc's orders.) This results to a less-salty dish that might be bland to some. Of course you can always use regular/classic oyster sauce instead.


Olive Joy said...

Teka, teka. What's so special about New Zealand Mussels? Are they extra tasty?

anneski:) said...

Well, there's not really a difference in taste, the local variety tastes as good, and on some occasions probably even better (since you buy them fresh and not frozen). Kaya lang the NZ variety is larger, making it more ideal for baking, more fabulous for cocktails and parties. :) And since walang red tide sa NZ, I'd say safer in more ways than one from those harvested from Manila Bay and the seas of Cavite.