Mussels Sauteed with Chiles and Thai Basil

Nghêu Xào Lá Quê Ỏ́t

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Little Saigon Cookbook: Vietnamese Cuisine And Culture In Southern California's Little Saigon

Little Saigon Cookbook

By Ann Le

Published 2011

  • About

When it comes to mussels or clams, we prefer to just steam or boil them before eating them over a newspaper spread on the table. But once in a while, it is a treat to make this Chinese-style dish. The meaty mussels have a nice sweet and salty sauce, with a little bit of a kick from the heat of the chiles. Clams can certainly be substituted for the mussels.


  • 2 pounds fresh mussels
  • ¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped onions
  • 5 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • teaspoons ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 fresh Thai bird chiles, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh Thai basil leaves
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 scallions, chopped into rings


    1. Clean and scrub the mussels thoroughly. Discard any with shells that are already open or broken.
    2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Sauté the onions and garlic for several minutes until the onions are translucent.
    3. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, black pepper, oyster sauce, fish sauce, chopped chiles, and lime juice. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
    4. Add the mussels to the skillet. Let them cook for 2 minutes, and then drizzle the fish sauce marinade all over them. Stir the mussels with the marinade for a few minutes and then add the chicken broth. Add the chopped basil and toss. Cover the skillet and cook for another 8 minutes.
    5. When the mussel shells have opened, add the cornstarch to thicken the liquid, being sure to evenly blend it in. Toss in the scallions.
    6. Place the mussels and sauce in a large shallow bowl or on a large serving platter, and serve hot with steamed rice.