Mussels with lime-ginger-chile cream sauce

Courtesy of 2016 SASSI Trailblazer winner Andrea Burgener

The mussels served in most restaurants are the horrible, tough and granular half-shell frozen kind. And what’s sad is that we now think that’s how a mussel should be. The difference is like night and day: fresh mussels, when properly (that means briefly) cooked, are truly silken, and taste of the sea in the best possible way. The frozen ones have no place in your kitchen or your mouth, so shun them. Ask a good fishmonger to source you the fresh ones; some of them will comply.

Count on about twelve mussels per person. Scrub and wash the shells, pull the beard out (as much as possible), then plunge into boiling water just until the nano-second they open, removing them individually as they do. You want them slightly undercooked.

You can prepare the mussels this far a couple of hours ahead, and leave covered in the fridge. When ready to eat, plonk them into the sauce below, and heat through just until hot, no longer.

Serves 8


  • Fresh mussels (about 12 mussels per person)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons slivered ginger
  • 2 teaspoons slivered garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lime rind (or lemon if limes are not available)
  • 1 litre cream
  • 400ml white wine (preferably not a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped red chile
  • 250ml water
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • Slivered spring onion
  • Optional: slivered vegetables and/or baby tomatoes


  • Scrub and wash the mussel shells, remove the beard, and briefly cook them in boiling water until they open. Remove them as they open, ensuring they are slightly undercooked.
  • For the sauce, heat vegetable oil and fry garlic, chile, lime or lemon rind, and ginger for two minutes.
  • Add white wine, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about twenty minutes.
  • Stir in cream and water, then simmer on low for about ten minutes.
  • Add turmeric, salt, sugar, and adjust the chile to taste, aiming for a pungent, intense flavor profile with spiciness, sharpness, sweetness, and creaminess.
  • Before serving, heat the prepared mussels and combine them with the sauce. Optionally, add slivered vegetables and/or baby tomatoes.
  • Enjoy the mussels with the lime-ginger-chile cream sauce!