a pot of mouclade mussels in cream and curry sauce
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4.78 from 18 votes

Mouclade French mussels in cream sauce and curry

Mouclade is a famous French dish from La Rochelle in which mussels are cooked with a cream sauce with curry.   This recipe is adapted from How to Eat a Peach by Diana Henry.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French, Seafood
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Vy Tran


  • a pinch of saffron
  • 2 lbs mussels
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 4 tbsps unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 2 banana shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and roughly chopped
  • 3/4 tsp yellow curry powder
  • 2 tbsps brandy
  • 2 tsp all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine like Chardonnay
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • baguette or a crusty bread for serving


  • Put saffron in a cup and add ¼ cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 30 minutes.
  • Clean the mussels with several washes of very cold water, removing any beards and barnacles.
  • Tap each mussel against the sink as you clean and discard any that remain open and don’t close.
  • Over medium heat, melt the butter and gently saute the shallot until soft, for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and curry powder and cook for another 2 minutes to release the curry’s fragrance.
  • Add the brandy and let it boil until it has reduced to a couple of tablespoons.
  • Reduce the heat and stir in the flour, mixing well until everything is smooth.
  • Take the pan off the heat and gradually add the saffron and its water while stirring. Set aside.
  • In a separate large saucepan, place the wine and mussels and cover the lid. Cook the mussels over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally until the mussels have opened.
  • Strain the mussels over a large strainer and collect their juice in a bowl. Discard any mussels that didn’t open and put the rest back in the saucepan and cover to keep warm.
  • Strain the mussel juice through a sieve lined with muslin to get rid of any sand or grit.  
  • Reheat the saffron sauce over medium heat. Add the mussel juice and stir to combine.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the cream and simmer for another 5 minutes until it has reduced and the sauce is a little thick.  
  • Season with sugar, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Stir in the parsley.
  • Put the mussels in a large serving bowl, pour over the sauce, and serve immediately with a fresh loaf of baguette.