Saffron Mussel Stew

Bowl of saffron mussel stew with a yellow broth, a plate with shells to the left

This is a super simple dish to make, perfect for a fall evening when the weather is getting cold and you feel like something warm and spicy to comfort and soothe you. Grab a nice loaf of crusty bread to mop up this curry.–Monica Bhide

LC Mmmm Mussels Note

This utterly simple, Indian-inspired recipe bathes mussels in a savory saffron broth spiked with ginger, garlic, peppers, and curry. No complaints here. It may just be our most preferred mussels treatment…um, right after moules frites.

Saffron Mussel Stew Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 4


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 20 fresh curry leaves
  • 2 or 3 small green Serrano chiles, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander powder
  • 1 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound mussels on the half-shell, such as New Zealand Greenshell Mussels
  • Table salt
  • A few strands of saffron


  • 1. In a deep saucepan, heat the oil over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, and green chiles. Saute for 4 to 6 minutes, until the onion begins to change color.
  • 2. Add the turmeric and coriander. Mix well and saute for another 30 seconds.
  • 3. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the cream. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • 4. Transfer to a blender and blend to a smooth consistency. If you like an even smoother texture, pass the mixture through a sieve. I prefer not to do so.
  • 5. Return the sauce to the saucepan and bring to another gentle boil.
  • 6. Add the mussels and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes, shaking the saucepan occasionally.
  • 7. Add salt to taste and the saffron threads and mix well. Serve hot.

    Note: If using whole fresh mussels, you will need 1 1/2 pounds. Soak in cold water for an hour. Discard any that open up. Remove beards and rinse well. Then pat dry and proceed with the recipe.
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