The Washington Post

Larb Gai Mussels

Larb Gai Mussels 6.000

Dixie D. Vereen for The Washington Post

Sep 28, 2015

This dish takes larb -- the boldly flavored Thai salad of sauteed ground chicken, red onion, fish sauce, toasted rice powder and plenty of chopped cilantro and mint -- and blends it with steamed mussels, with coconut milk adding a bit of richness.

The best part just might be the broth, which has a wonderful herbal quality.

Make Ahead: The dish is best served right after it's made. In case of leftovers, pull the mussels out of their shells and refrigerate them separately. Reheat the broth and add the mussels just before serving.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings

  • 4 pounds shell-on mussels
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (tenderloins removed), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium red onion, cut in half and then into thin half-moon slices
  • 3 green Thai chilies, stemmed and seeded, if desired, and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 or 3 limes)
  • One 13.5-ounce can regular or low-fat coconut milk
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped (1 cup loosely packed)
  • Leaves from 1/2 small bunch mint, chopped


Clean the mussels under cool running water. If any of them are open, tap gently on them. If they do not close, discard them.

Lightly grease the inside of a food processor bowl with cooking oil spray. Place the chicken in it and pulse until finely ground.

Separate the cilantro leaves and stems. Coarsely chop both piles, keeping them separate.

Heat the oil in a large casserole over high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the chicken, red onion and chilies; cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, then add the fish sauce, lime juice, coconut milk and chopped cilantro stems, stirring to incorporate.

Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the mussels. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or just until the mussels have opened.

Divide the mussels among wide, shallow bowls, discarding any whose shells haven’t opened. Top with chopped cilantro leaves, scallions and mint. Serve right away.

Rate it

Recipe Source

From Washington food writer and cookbook author David Hagedorn.

Tested by David Hagedorn.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at

Avg. Rating (2)

Rate this recipe

Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (using low-fat coconut milk): 250

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 13g 20%

Saturated Fat: 5g 25%

Cholesterol: 65mg 22%

Sodium: 660mg 28%

Total Carbohydrates: 10g 3%

Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%

Sugar: 3g

Protein: 23g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

Most Read Lifestyle