Chakapuli is usually made as a veal or lamb stew and is given its distinctive taste by tarragon and sour plum sauce. Here Tekuna has found a new way to showcase those aromatic flavours using mussels. Always look for fresh, live mussels and keep them refrigerated until you are ready to cook them. Wash them in lots of clean, cold water and remove any ‘beards’ and barnacles before cooking. Discard any mussels that don’t open during cooking. Make your own tkemali, sour plum sauce, or use store-bought. If you don’t have the sauce but do have sour-plum fruit leather, tear a hand-size strip into small pieces and soak it in a cupful of boiling water before adding it to the mussels.
Heat the oil in a saucepan large enough to comfortably hold all the mussels. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook, covered, for 7–8 minutes over medium heat, or until the onions have softened.
Raise the heat and add the wine. Bring it to the boil before adding the mussels.
Cover the pan and cook for 5–6 minutes.
Stir the mussels and cover again. Cook for 3–4 minutes more or until all the mussels have steamed open and are cooked and hot.
Stir in the sour plum sauce, herbs, spring onions / scallions and optional chilli. Mix well. Cook for a minute more before removing from the heat.
Season to taste and serve immediately.
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