I love autumn and the opportunity to revisit warming soups again after a summer of barbeques, salads, crudo, ceviche and all things light and fresh.
Autumn is the time for hot steaming bowls of soup, hearty casseroles and bringing out the slow cooker.
This Hot & Sour Mussel Soup recipe is quintessentially Kiwi and uses our most iconic seafood, New Zealand green lipped mussels. They are an affordable and healthy meal choice and the delicious molluscs are one of the most sustainable seafood products in the world.
This recipe is my take on Thai tom yum soup and a great change from the richer heavy seafood chowders.
I have used a mix of basil and mint as a replacement for Thai basil which can be hard to find and you can add more chilli or sour lemon/lime to your taste. Rice noodles can also be added at the end to make it a heartier meal and the soup is very quick and easy to make if you use store bought stock.
Hot & Sour Mussel Soup
1.5l chicken or vegetable stock
2 sticks celery finely chopped
2 onions finely chopped
1 carrot peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic grated
50g ginger peeled and grated
1 Tlbsp vegetable oil
2 heads lemongrass roughly chopped
6 x curry leaves
½ tsp ground star anise
3 red chillies roughly chopped including seeds
2 x Tlbsp soy sauce
Stems of small bunch or coriander roughly chopped
½ tsp sugar
2kg mussels (at least 8-10 per person)
Leaves of small bunch coriander chopped but reserve some whole for garnish
Small bunch basil and good handful of mint loosely chopped
1 packet mung bean sprouts
Bunch spinach chopped
4 tsp tamarind paste
Juice 2 lemons and 2 to 3 Tblsp lime juice ( or more to taste)
½ tsp salt
Sesame oil to finish off and garnish bowls along with coriander sprigs
Heat oil in a large pot and fry onions, celery, carrots, garlic and ginger until golden and soft. Add stock, water, lemongrass, curry leaves, star anise, soy sauce, coriander stems and sugar and cover and simmer gently for ½ hour to infuse flavours.
Strain and return to pot with the scrubbed and debearded mussels along with lemon juice, lime juice and coriander leaves. Boil until all mussels have opened (discard those that remain closed)
Add basil and mint, bean sprouts, chopped spinach, tamarind paste and salt. Check for seasoning and add chilli paste or chilli flakes if you like it hot.
Pour into warmed soup bowls and garnish with a few drops of sesame oil and reserved coriander sprigs. Add rice noodles for a heartier lunch or dinner.