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Secrets of the Red Lantern (Vietnamese)
by Pauline Nguyen and Luke Nguyen

Serves 2

Mussels with Lemongrass, Chile & Garlic

(Chem Chép Xa Ót)

• 1 pound black mussels
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 2 lemongrass stems, white part only, finely sliced
• 1/2 onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 bird's-eye chile, sliced
• 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
• 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
• 1 teaspoon potato starch
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 handful cilantro leaves
• 1/2 lemon

Scrub and debeard the mussels, then set aside. In a wok over high heat, place the chicken stock and mussels, cover with a lid, and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mussels open. (Discard any that do not open.) Strain the mussels, reserving the cooking liquid for later use.

Put the wok back over medium heat, add the oil, and gently fry the lemongrass, onion, garlic, and chile. Once golden, add the mussels and increase the heat. Toss with the oyster sauce and fish sauce, then add 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Mix the potato starch with 1 tablespoon water and toss it with the mussels to thicken the sauce. Season the mussels with the sugar, salt, and pepper, turn out onto a serving platter, garnish with the cilantro, and squeeze the lemon over them.

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