Mussels Congolaise

Recipe: Mussels Congolaise

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Serves 4

This one-pot meal is deeply flavored and satisfying, thanks to warm spices, richness from coconut milk and brightness from lime juice and fresh parsley. Make sure to have plenty of warm crusty bread (or frites!) for sopping up the fragrant sauce. When debearding the mussels, discard any that don’t close shut when gentle pressure is applied. Or, ask your fishmonger to debeard the mussels for you!


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 large pinch saffron threads
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, plus extra wedges for serving
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • Warm crusty bread, for serving


Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add fennel, coriander and cumin seeds and toast lightly, 30 seconds, then immediately add shallot and sauté until tender and translucent, about 2–3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato paste, chipotle and saffron, and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.

Stir in wine and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, then stir in coconut milk and stock. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cook until reduced and flavors have blended, about 6–8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Increase heat to medium, then add mussels and stir to coat in sauce. Cover Dutch oven and cook until mussels have opened, about 5–7 minutes (discarding any unopened shells.) Stir in lime juice and sprinkle with parsley and lemon wedges. Serve immediately with warm bread.

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