Mussel molho (Spicy and tangy Goan Mussel pickle)

Molho is a Portuguese word, meaning sauce. The sauce here in this recipe is a bright red, spicy & tangy pickle with a hint of sweetness. The mussels take on the flavors of this pickle, making it a delicious accompaniment to any meal!
This Goan Mussel Molho is a delicate balance of sweet/tangy and spicy flavor tones. The yummy mussels add another dimension to the already well-rounded recipe. If you are an avid seafood lover and pickle’s are one of your weaknesses, then this recipe will sure end up as one of your most treasured indulgences.

I was introduced to this pickle, by my mum in law. She suggested we make this and share it on the blog with you guys! This is the first time I did try this variant of the Molho. Now I have had both- homemade and store bought! And I’m telling you guys, the store bought ones are nowhere on par with the homemade ones, all you taste is just vinegar, and devoid of any spices! Avoid!
Try making this at home instead, if you aren’t a fan of mussels, swap them for fish ( kingfish/ mackerel ) or shrimps, they are equally yummy!

A quick gist of the recipe – 3 flavor components going on here-
  • Chillies and whole spices for heat.
  • Vinegar for the sour element.
  • Sugar and coconut Feni (distilled spirit)  to balance heat and sour.

A ground paste of dried red chilli and spices is prepared. Mussels are fried to remove any moisture, followed by a quick sauté of ginger garlic. The ground paste goes in next, stir-fried until the rawness is gone, next goes in the vinegar, Feni, and sugar, those are mixed well. Finally, fried mussels are added to this sauce. This is left to mature for about 2 weeks and you have yourself some yummy pickle, making any simple meal finger licking good!

Step by step instructions

1.Grind cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, red chillies, 4 cloves of garlic and one inch ginger with about 1/2 cup palm vinegar or red wine vinegar. Adjust the amount of vinegar as required to grind a smooth paste. Slice the remaining 4 garlic cloves, cut the remaining 1-inch ginger into julienne’s and set aside.

2.Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet, fry mussels on medium heat for about 5-6 minutes, until the moisture reduces. Remove to a plate and set aside.

3.In the same skillet, heat remaining oil, add garlic, saute few seconds, then add ginger and saute until ginger and garlic are fragrant.

4.Add the ground masala paste, saute on medium heat, until the masala leaves oil.

5.Rinse the blender jar with about 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar, add it to the pan along with coconut Feni* , sugar and salt to taste. Mix everything well, check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Add more vinegar or sugar to balance the tang and spice. Cook on medium heat until the mixture begins bubbling, about 2 minutes.

6.Add the fried mussels, simmer another minute. Switch off the heat, let the pickle cool. Store in sterilized container. Let it mature for 1 -2 weeks at room temperature. Once you open the bottle, you may store it at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Remember to use a clean, dry spoon each time.

Notes

  1. 5 pounds of mussels yielded about 12 oz mussel meat.
  2. To clean mussels- Wash and clean the mussels well. Discard any that have cracked shells. Heat a pot of water, transfer the mussels to the pot and boil until all the mussels open up. Keep transferring the mussels, as they open, to a bowl. Discard any that haven’t opened. Discard the water. Open the shell, and remove the black string also known as the beard. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh and transfer it to a bowl. It is ready to be used.
  3. You can skip the coconut feni and use vinegar instead of it. The use of only vinegar makes the pickle very tangy, hence coconut feni is added to cut out the tang. Since it’s unavailable here, I’ve used gold rum in lieu of coconut feni, and the pickle turned out good nonetheless.
  4. Replace the mussels for shrimps/prawns or fish to make prawn/fish molho.

Measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml, 1 tsp = 5 ml

Mussel molho (Spicy and tangy Goan Mussel pickle)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serving Size: 15 people

Mussel molho (Spicy and tangy Goan Mussel pickle)

Spicy and tangy Goan Mussel pickle.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz Mussel meat, refer notes on how to clean mussels
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 5 nos. cloves
  • 30 nos. peppercorns
  • 12 nos. dried kashmiri red chiilies
  • 1 cup Palm vinegar or Red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves
  • 2 inch ginger
  • 1/4 cup coconut feni*, refer notes
  • 1/2 cup sugar, adjust to balance out the tang of the vinegar, you may need more or less
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Grind cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, red chillies, 4 cloves of garlic and one inch ginger with about 1/2 cup palm vinegar or red wine vinegar. Adjust the amount of vinegar as required to grind a smooth taste. Slice the remaining 4 garlic cloves, cut the remaining 1-inch ginger into julienne's and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet, fry mussels on medium heat for about 5-6 minutes, until the moisture reduces. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, heat remaining oil, add garlic, saute few seconds, then add ginger and saute until ginger and garlic are fragrant.
  4. Add the ground masala paste, saute on medium heat, until the masala leaves oil.
  5. Rinse the blender jar with about 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar, add it to the pan along with coconut feni* sugar and salt to taste. Mix everything well, check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Add more vinegar or sugar to balance the tang and spice. Cook on medium heat until the mixture begins bubbling, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the fried mussels, simmer another minute. Switch off the heat, let the pickle cool. Store in sterilized container. Let it mature for 1 -2 weeks at room temperature. Once you open the bottle, you may store it at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Remember to use a clean, dry spoon each time.

Notes

1. 5 pounds of mussels yielded about 12 oz mussel meat.

2. To clean mussels- Wash and clean the mussels well. Discard any that have cracked shells. Heat a pot of water, transfer the mussels to the pot and boil until all the mussels open up. Keep transferring the mussels, as they open, to a bowl. Discard any that haven't opened. Discard the water. Open the shell, and remove the black string also known as the beard. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh and transfer it to a bowl. It is ready to be used.

3. You can skip the coconut feni and use vinegar instead of it. The use of only vinegar makes the pickle very tangy, hence coconut feni is added to cut out the tang. Since it's unavailable here, I've used gold rum in lieu of coconut feni, and the pickle turned out good nonetheless.

4. Replace the mussels for shrimps/prawns or fish to make prawn/fish molho.

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Regards,

Freda

20 comments

  1. Sandhya says:

    Freda,
    Do you hear the knock on your door? That is me coming for that absolutely yummy pickle! I wish I had got some coconut feni from Goa. Great share. Do thank your mil on my behalf.
    Your recipes and photos are amazing. I am a big fan!

  2. chef mimi says:

    Oh my this sounds wonderful. I only have Kashmiri powdered chile pepper. That really wouldn’t work, would it? I know that anything home-made is better than store bought, which is why I’d really love to make this! And on mussels? Fantastic!!

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