25 Jul 2024
Expat Cookbook: Brazilian Mussel Paella
Community Expat Cookbook

Expat Cookbook: Brazilian Mussel Paella

Mariscada do Baiana hails from Santo Amaro in Brazil, with its strong African elements and where coconut-milk-laden recipes are typical. Normally served soupy, simple twists transform this Mussels With Rice dish into a Spanish inspiration – a comforting paella, rich with crusty bits sticking to the bottom of the frying pan, and yet still tasting of the unique flavours of Latin America.


1 cup white wine (use good quality drinking wine)

1 bay leaf

1 kg fresh raw mussels, washed and bearded

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

12 shallots, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 cup raw polished jasmine rice

1 x 400g can tomatoes, pureed in the tin’s juices

1 very large orange, its peel finely grated

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

¼ cup coconut milk

½ cup frozen peas, thawed


Crack black pepper



  1. In a large pot, bring the wine to a boil with the bay leaf.
  2. Add the mussels.
  3. Cover the pot and bring the wine to the boil again.
  4. Over a medium heat, steam the mussels in the covered pot for 5 minutes, until they are opened.
  5. Set aside the opened mussels, discarding those that have remained closed.
  6. Reserve the mussel liquids in the pot.
  7. When the mussels have cooled slightly, remove their flesh from the shells.
  8. Set aside the mussel flesh.
  9. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
  10. Sautee the shallots and garlic until they are translucent.
  11. Stir the raw rice through the shallots and garlic, coating them in the oil.
  12. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and let it all boil for 3 minutes.
  13. Stir in the grated orange peel and mussel liquids.
  14. Return to the boil.
  15. Cover the frying pan and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
  16. Stir in the herbs, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  17. Simmer for another 8 minutes.
  18. In the mean time, blanch the thawed peas in boiling water.
  19. Drain and set the blanched peas aside.
  20. Stir the coconut milk into the cooked rice in the frying pan and return to the boil.
  21. Add the mussel flesh and the blanched peas to the surface of the rice.
  22. Further cook the rice, in the covered frying pan, for another 5 minutes to warm the mussels.
  23. Turn off the heat.
  24. Leave the paella to stand in its lidded pan for 20 minutes, until it looks firmed up.
  25. Serve on warmed dinner plates and with the rest of your bottle of good quality white wine.


Serves 4

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