Leah Cha (Sauteed Mussels with Basil)

Serves     4


2T vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 dozen mussels or good sized clams (2‐ inch), scrubbed and clams soaked in fresh
water for an hour and drained
2t sugar
¾ t salt for mussels, ¼ t for clams
2c loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1t seeded chopped bird’s eye (Thai) chilies, or ½ t red pepper flakes
¾ sweet red pepper, julienned
2 scallions, cut in half the long way, then sliced into 1‐inch pieces
Lime wedges for garnish


Heat the oil over medium‐high oil in a large wok. Add the garlic and stir for a second. Add mussels or
clams and sprinkle sugar and salt over them. Stir well. Cover pan and cook for about 5 minutes for
mussels, a bit longer for clams, shaking the pan periodically and/or giving it a stir once or twice. When
most of the shells are open, stir in the red pepper, chili pepper, basil and scallions and stir/toss until well

Cook 1 more minute or until all (or almost all – discard any that do not open) shells are open at least a
bit. Serve immediately with limes to squeeze onto the shellfish.


Notes and Instructions

This recipe is a snap, about 15 minutes from start to finish once you have washed the shellfish, and can be made with either clams or mussels. It is traditionally made with FRESH water clams in Cambodia. If you make it with clams be sure to reduce the salt to ¼ teaspoon since clams in the US are from salt water and are inherently saltier than mussels to start with. If you have any pesto (basil and garlic only – no cheese) in the freezer, you can use that instead of the fresh basil leaves if you can’t find them. We served this over cooked rice stick noodles so we could use the juice produced by the cooking – a great combination as the noodles soak up the flavor really well!