Mussel mulligatawny with preserved lemon risotto

Mussel mulligatawny with preserved lemon risotto

Mark Roper

The liquor released by mussels during the cooking process is one of the best things about them, and here it provides the base for a wonderful mulligatawny soup. This is a fabulous dish, full of creamy curry flavours, and a touch of chilli heat. Rice, the traditional accompaniment to Asian curries, is also terrific in soups, turning them into more of a meal.

A spoonful of preserved lemon risotto works perfectly in this soup, or, if you don’t fancy making risotto especially for this dish, then any leftover rice you might have hanging around in the fridge will do. Just stir through some diced preserved lemon, celery leaves and a knob of butter as you warm it.

This soup would be delicious as a starter on a cold evening, but is also hearty enough to be eaten on its own as a supper or lunch dish.


Quantity Ingredient
1.5kg mussels
60ml olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
garlic, finely chopped
100ml white wine
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup parsley, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped celery leaves, (from the heart)
200ml thickened cream
1/2 recipe Preserved lemon risotto


  1. Scrub the mussels clean and pull away the beards (throw away any that refuse to close after a sharp tap).
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based cooking pot and add the onion, leek and garlic. Stir around over a medium heat for a few minutes, then tip in the mussels and shake the pan to move them around over the heat. Pour in the wine, cover the pan, turn up the heat and steam for 3–4 minutes. Shake the pan vigorously from time to time.
  3. Remove the lid from the pan and stir the mussels around well. Most should have opened, but if there are still many that remain closed, stir them around, then put the lid back on and steam them for a further 2 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and remove the mussels from their shells, discarding any that haven’t opened. Return the mussel meat to the pan.
  4. Put the pan back on the heat, and add the spices, parsley, celery leaves and cream. Bring to the boil and mix everything well.
  5. When ready to serve, place a small mound of risotto into each soup bowl and spoon the mussels, vegetables and lovely fragrant creamy juices around.
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