Lemongrass Steamed Mussels with Thai Dipping Sauce

| August 16, 2010 | 2 Comments

Mussels are one of those seafood dishes that you have to be careful about when serving company. Many people object to their strong flavor and aroma. Charles and I love them, however, and we were once talking about our favorite ways to cook mussels when my mother, Pranee, told me about a dish she cooked at a now-defunct restaurant in Houston called Renu’s.  

It was simply mussles that had been steamed in water infused with lemongrass, and it was served with a dipping sauce that Thais commonly use for seafood: a mixture of fish sauce, lime and chopped chilis.   

I’ve been on vacation for a few days so Mom’s been spared the kitchen duties, and every night she’s been asking me what’s for dinner. The other night when she asked, I told her I was making her famous mussels dish from Renu’s. She lit up and proceeded to give me detailed instructions and helped me make the dipping sauce.  

We ended up having them as an appetizer, and I wish that I had gotten more than three mussels per person and made them an entrée instead. They were simply delicious. And Charles and I chased the mussels down with some Chang beer, made in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  

Lemongrass steamed mussels, served with a Thai dipping sauce.


Lemongrass Steamed Mussels  

  1. Mussels, washed and de-beareded
  2. 2 stalks of lemongrass, bruised with a pestle and then sliced into thin diagonal strips
  3. Water for steaming
  4. A dozen Thai basil leaves (you can also substitute regular basil)


  • Bring water in a steamer to a boil and add lemongrass to the water.
  • Place mussels in a bowl and into the steamer.
  • When all mussels are open, toss basil leaves on top of them and steam another minute until basil leaves begin to wilt.
  • Remove and serve with dipping sauce.

For dipping sauce  

  1. Juice from 1 lime
  2. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) fish sauce
  3. 2 Thail chilis, sliced thinly
  • Combine all ingredients in small bowl, mix thoroughly and serve with mussels.


— Vic

Tags: , ,

Category: Appetizers, Seafood

About the Author (Author Profile)

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

Comments (2)

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  1. just when I was looking for a new thing to do with mussels…I might have to adapt this and make rice paper rolls.

  2. Bryan Swearinger says:

    This looks like a winner for Christmas dinner!

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