It’s no secret among Angeleno’s that some of the best Thai food in town comes from the kitchen of Jitlada, located in a non-descript strip mall in East Hollywood. We were so smitten the first time we tried it, we even wrote about it, one of the very few restaurant posts on the blog. One of our favorite dishes that night was the famous steamed New Zealand green-lipped mussels in a fragrant lemongrass broth. We love many different mussels preparations, but Jitlada’s simple approach and wonderfully fragrant broth bathing these mussels that make us dream about it every time we see live mussels at the fish market. After eating the plump and juicy meat, we slurp up the broth like a soup. The aroma is so inviting and the tinge of heat from the birds eye chiles makes this broth truly slurp worthy. When we can’t go back to Jitlada, we recreate this copy cat dish at home and you’ll be amazed how quick and simple it comes together. New Zealand green-lipped mussels are perfect for this dish because they tend to be larger and meatier, but any live fresh mussels would work such as the PEI (Prince Edward Island) or Carlsbad. It’s also a very flexible recipe. We have varied it a bit depending on what herbs we have on hand. Lemongrass and basil is the star of Jitlada’s broth, but we’ve experimented with adding Makrut (keffir) lime leaves as well as galangal and both are great additions, either alone or complementing the lemongrass.
Here’s a quick video of us throwing this together with lemongrass, makrut lime leaves, and dried thai chiles. All you need are mussels, chicken broth, a few fragrant herbs and spices and 15 minutes and you’ll have your new go-to mussels dish.
A special thanks to our daughter for picking the lime leaves!
Steamed Mussels in Lemongrass Broth
Total Time: 15 minutes
This recipe is inspired by Los Angeles based restaurant, Jitlada. Feel free to experiment with different Asian herbs such as basil, lime leaves, galangal, etc.
12 Fresh live mussels, preferably New Zealand Green Lip (about 1.5 lbs)
2 stalks of lemongrass, trimmed about 3-4 inches and bruised (tender white portions only)
1 handful of thai basil, hand crushed (or Makrut/Keffir lime leaves)
2-3 birds eye chile, dried or fresh, crushed (adjust according to taste)
2 cups chicken broth
Scrub and rinse the mussels and trim/remove the beards and set aside.
In 2 qt pot on medium heat, add the chicken broth, lemongrass, basil, and chiles. When it comes to a simmer, add the mussels and cover. Reduce heat to medium low and steam until mussels are open, roughly 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and enjoy immediately.