Steamed Mussels in Black Bean Sauce

Enjoy Southeast Asian flavors in this mussels recipe

Photo of mussels in black bean sauce /
Photo of Mussels with Black Bean Sauce

This easy recipe for steamed Mussels in Black Bean Sauce combines sweet mussels with salty black bean sauce, zippy ginger and garlic, plus a touch of red chili.  Make it for a fabulous first course and enjoy the flavors of Southeast Asia. 

Although the ingredients sound strong, you actually use only a little bit of each, producing a subtle although tasty sauce that lets the flavor of the mussels shine through. 

Best of all, steaming in the mussels in black bean sauce with a touch of white wine takes only a few minutes, especially if you organize the ingredients ahead of time. 

We like to serve these mussels as an appetizer or first course with bread for dipping into the sauce.  For an Asian-inspired dinner, just double the recipe and serve with white rice and broccoli sauteed with a little chopped ginger and soy sauce.

Steamed mussels in black bean sauce recipe

Serves 4 as a first course.  To serve as a main course, just double the recipe.

  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
  • 2 tablespoons canola or other mild-flavored cooking oil
  • 3 scallions, white part chopped (or substitute 2 shallots, or 1/2 small onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese-style black bean sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or substitute white balsamic vinegar for a slightly different flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Assemble all ingredients before you begin cooking, because this recipe cooks fast!

Coat the bottom of your widest skillet with the oil, and put it over medium heat. 

Add the scallions, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, and stir while cooking for 1 minute.

Add the white wine, black bean sauce, vinegar, and sugar, and stir quickly to mix.  Then add the mussels - try to keep them all in one layer - and cover the skillet.

Cook over medium heat until the mussels shells open.  This can sometimes happen in less than 2 minutes, so be vigilant!  The worst thing you can do to mussels is to overcook them!

Use a slotted spoon to remove the open mussels.  You can put them into individual serving bowls for a first or main course, or on a platter for an appetizer.  Remove the remaining mussels as they open, and discard any that don't. 

If you're serving the mussels in black bean sauce in bowls, pour the remaining sauce in the cooking pan over them, dividing it equally among bowls. 

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