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Home| Spicy Black Bean Mussels With Rice Stick Noodles
Spicy Black Bean Mussels With Rice Stick Noodles
Spicy Black Bean Mussels With Rice Stick NoodlesSpicy Black Bean Mussels with Rice Stick Noodles

I've always enjoyed dishes that combine mussels and black beans, a traditional Chinese pairing. I've joined the two here, with the addition of Thai basil leaves and a shot of fresh thyme- a bow to Thailand. The inclusion of tomatoes-we're traveling West, now-adds freshness and color.

I recommend Prince Edward Island mussels for this dish-they're particularly tender and sweet-but any mussel will work well. To serve, arrange the mussels on top of each portion "to be closer to the gods" - a Chinese practice that also makes the dish look more bountiful.


2 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds mussels, preferably Prince Edward Island, scrubbed, beards removed (or clams)
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
4 serrano or Thai bird chiles, stemmed and minced
1 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 medium tomatoes, or 4 canned, cut into 1/4- inch dice
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
2 cups Chicken Stock (for recipe see below) or low-sodium canned broth ( or vegetable broth)
8 ounces rice stick noodles, soaked in warm water to cover until softened, about 30 minutes
1 cup fresh Thai or sweet basil leaves
1 bunch chives, cut into 1/2- inch lengths
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 limes, halved



1. Heat a wok over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. When the oil shimmers, add the mussels and stir-fry until some of the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, chiles, and black beans and stir-fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, cover, and cook until all the mussels have opened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, fish sauce, chicken stock, and drained noodles. Toss and the basil, chives, and butter. Toss again. Season with the salt and pepper to taste.

2. Transfer the mixture to large pasta bowls, and arrange the mussels on top of each portion. Squeeze lime juice over and serve.

Ming's Tip: I sometimes add a bit of butter to a completed dish, as I do in this recipe, to provide light enrichment and to round out flavors. Keep this classic French technique in mind for your own cooking.

Another Ming Tip: To make sure your mussels are fresh, push both sides of each mussel tightly closed for a brief moment and then inspect it. If it stays slightly open after you release your fingers, the mussel in most probably dead and you should pitch it in the garbage. If the mussel stays shut after you close it, then it is alive and responding to your touch. Use only the ones that are alive and kicking!

Copyright 2013 Ming Tsai