Saffron Mussel Stew

This saffron mussel stew is a veritable bowl of warmth–from the ginger, turmeric, and chilies to the steaming mussels themselves. If you’ve never had Indian-inspired shellfish, now’s the time!

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


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.

☞ Table of Contents

Saffron Mussel Stew

Bowl of saffron mussel stew with a yellow broth, a plate with shells to the left
This saffron mussel stew is deeply fragrant as it's spiced with turmeric, curry leaves, coriander, garlic, and ginger. Serrano chilies add some heat but you'll find the creamy sauce tames it nicely.

Prep 20 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 30 mins
4 servings
222 kcal
5 from 1 vote
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  • 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


  • 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.
  • Add the turmeric and coriander. Mix well and saute for another 30 seconds.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Return the sauce to the saucepan and bring to another gentle boil.
  • Add the mussels and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes, shaking the saucepan occasionally.
  • 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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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 222kcal (11%)Carbohydrates: 12g (4%)Protein: 11g (22%)Fat: 15g (23%)Saturated Fat: 10g (63%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 39mg (13%)Sodium: 303mg (13%)Potassium: 397mg (11%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 3g (3%)Vitamin A: 574IU (11%)Vitamin C: 112mg (136%)Calcium: 72mg (7%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

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Originally published April 20, 2009


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