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Mussels stir fried with chilli & basil


15 mins

Super Easy

Roasted chilli paste is available from Asian supermarkets, or make your own with my recipe here.




  • 1kg (2lb) mussels

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 2–3 red spur chillies

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons roasted chilli paste (available from Asian supermarkets, or make your own with my recipe here)

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce (or salt)

  • 1 tablespoon chicken stock

  • Large handful of Thai holy basil leaves (or Italian ones)

  • Steamed rice, to serve


  1. Check that all the mussels are closed. Gently tap any that aren’t, and discard them if they do not close. Clean the mussels in a bowl of water, discarding the beards, then set aside.
  2. Pound the garlic and chillies together using a mortar and pestle.
  3. Heat the oil in a wok set over a high heat, then stir-fry the garlic and chilli mixture until golden brown.
  4. Add the roasted chilli paste, stir well, then mix in the mussels.
  5. Add the sugar, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce and chicken stock. Stir-fry for 2 minutes or until the mussels are cooked.
  6. Stir in the basil leaves and remove from the heat.
  7. Discard any mussels that have not opened up. Serve with rice.

When I lived at my family’s mountain farm, in the north of Thailand, eating seafood was unheard of until I was about 12 when my uncle brought mussels back from down south. This dish always bring me back to that day when we made stir fry with chilli and basil (pad kra prow) using Thai sweet basil we find in the garden. If you can’t find Thai basil, you can use Italian ones which makes a nice substitute.


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