Spring Into Mussels Steamed in Lemongrass-So Hap Xa

Monahan's Seafood Market | Fresh Whole Fish, Fillets, Shellfish, Recipes, Catering & Lunch Counter-Ann Arbor, Michigan

Man, that nuoc cham dipping sauce that went with Monday night’s Vietnamese shrimp fritter recipe seemed to get better as the week went on. We got a lot of mileage out of it too. I drizzled it over noodles, used it as dressing over tossed greens, and as a dipping sauce for roasted chicken and pot stickers. It was even great as a dip for left over steak from Knights!

Being on a Vietnamese flavor kick and having just received some big, plump mussels from Bangs Island, Maine, I wondered if they have mussels in Vietnam. Well sure enough I came upon a recipe for so hap xa, mussels steamed in lemongrass. It sounded delicious and I already had most of the ingredients left over from the shrimp fritter recipe. Some traditional recipes call for chicken stock or beer (or both) but I used just beer and the resulting broth was amazing. In the spirit of the French influence on Vietnamese cuisine, we served this dish with a toasted baguette instead of rice, glad we did- excellent broth for sopping. The mussels dipped in the nuoc cham were a nice touch too.

Bonus Recipe:

Another idea that came from this recipe is a simple mussel salad. We prepared the so hap xa two nights in a row to test the recipe and photograph it so, the second night we prepared a Vietnamese style mussel salad with the leftovers. Wow! We had the day old baguette for croutons, some cherry tomatoes and mixed greens. From there we just removed the steamed mussels from there shells and tossed them over the salad. The dressing was some of the leftover broth mixed with the nuoc cham, a splash of sweet chili sauce, rice vinegar and olive oil. Play with it to your own taste. Garnish with some cilantro and scallions and you’ve got a fine spring salad!

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