This recipe for Moules Frites is my Asian take on the Belgian classic dish. Fresh mussels are steamed in a light and clean broth, flavoured with crushed spices.
What is moules frites?
Moules frites, or moules et frites is literally translated as "mussels and fries" and originated from Belgium.
It's considered Belgium's national dish.
There are many variations, however, the most notable version is moules marinière which features mussels steamed in white wine with shallots, parsley and butter.
Why you'll love this recipe
This version is my Asian variation on the classic Belgian dish.
It's simple to prepare, and comes together in less than 20 minutes.
The flavours are light and delicate, with minimal ingredients.
Ingredients you'll need
- fresh mussels: cleaned and de-bearded
- vegetable oil: for sauteing the aromatics
- shallots: minced
- garlic: minced
- fennel seeds: crushed; small seeds, oval in shape and are light pale green/tan in colour
- coriander seeds: crushed; are small round spherical seeds that are tan in colour, with a bright, citrusy flavour
- Sichuan peppercorns: crushed; shaped like small buds, these pack a tingly numbing sensation, commonly found in Sichuan cuisine; if you don't like spice, you can omit or decrease the amount
- Shaoxing wine: or dry white wine
- sea salt & black pepper: to your taste
- lime juice: adds a little brightness and acidity
- cilantro: chopped
- cooked French fries: for this recipe, thin-cut shoestring fries are best, but you can use any type you like
How to clean mussels in shell
Place the mussels into a large bowl of cold water. Let it sit for 20 minutes, to release any sand.
Drain and place the mussels into a colander and under cold running water.
Give the mussels a good rinse to remove any debris, barnacles or bits of seaweed.
Check to see if there are any open shelled mussels. If there are, discard them.
The mussel shells should be closed.
Debeard the mussel by pulling on the "beard" and giving it a good tug toward the hinge end.
Discard the beard.
Give the mussels another vigorous rinse under cold water and drain.
How to cook the mussels
Heat up 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add in the shallots and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until slightly softened.
Add in the crushed fennel seed, coriander, and Sichuan peppercorns.
Stir until the spices release their aroma.
Add in Shaoxing wine to deglaze the pot and season with salt and pepper.
Add the mussels in and cover with a lid.
Steam for 3-4 minutes over medium-high heat, shaking the pan from time to time, until all the shells have opened up.
Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon and transfer to a dish.
Return the pot to the stove, and cook until the 50% of the liquid has evaporated.
Add in lime juice and chopped cilantro.
Remove from heat, pour the sauce over the mussels, and garnish with extra cilantro.
Serve with French fries.
How to serve & store
It's best to enjoy the moules frites immediately.
Remove mussels from shells and store leftovers in an airtight container with the sauce/broth in the fridge for up to 1 day.
How to reheat cooked mussels
Separate the broth from the mussels. (Make sure the mussels are removed from the shells).
Place the mussels in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with a damp paper towel.
Heat at 50% power for 15-20 seconds at a time, until warmed through.
Reheat the broth in the microwave or in a small saucepan until it comes to a simmer.
Pour the heated broth over the mussels and serve.
Expert tips & FAQs
How do I know when the mussels are done?
The inside temperature of the mussels should reach 65C.
A good indicator is when the shells of the mussels have fully opened, they will be ready, about 3-4 minutes.
If the mussels are larger, they will need a few more minutes.
Note: Don't consume raw/undercooked seafood/shellfish.
How to avoid rubbery mussels?
Overcooking mussels can lead to a rubbery texture.
Follow the tips above on how to reheat mussels.
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Let me know if you try out this recipe -- tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
Asian-Flavoured Moules Frites
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 1 ½ lbs fresh mussels cleaned and de-bearded
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or olive oil
- 2 shallots minced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds crushed
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds crushed
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns crushed
- 2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- 1 lime juiced
- 2 tablespoon cilantro chopped plus extra for garnish
- ½ lb cooked French fries
- Heat up 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add in the shallots and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until slightly softened.
- Add in the crushed fennel seed, coriander, and Sichuan peppercorns.
- Stir until the spices release their aroma.
- Add in Shaoxing wine to deglaze the pot and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the mussels in and cover with a lid.
- Steam for 3-4 minutes over medium-high heat, shaking the pan from time to time, until all the shells have opened up.
- Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon and transfer to a dish.
- Return the pot to the stove, and cook until the 50% of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add in lime juice and chopped cilantro.
- Remove from heat, pour the sauce over the mussels, and garnish with extra cilantro.
- Serve with French fries.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.