Homemade Stuffed Mussels With Aromatic Rice (Midye Dolma)

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"Midye Dolma, stuffed mussels with aromatic rice, herbs and spices, is a delicious street food that is loved in Turkey. They are well worth the effort to make at home; these scrumptious stuffed mussels, midye dolma would make an impressive starter or it may be served as a main course. Source: Ozlem"

Original is 7 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (280.9 g)
  • Calories 291.2
  • Total Fat - 15.4 g
  • Saturated Fat - 2.4 g
  • Cholesterol - 31.8 mg
  • Sodium - 477.2 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 21.2 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 3.9 g
  • Sugars - 4.7 g
  • Protein - 17.7 g
  • Calcium - 81.4 mg
  • Iron - 5.7 mg
  • Vitamin C - 23.3 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.3 mg

Step by Step Method

Step 1

Place the currants in a bowl, cover with warm water and soak for 15 minutes. Then drain and set aside.

Step 2

Place the rice into a sieve and rinse well under cold running water. Drain the rice and set aside.

Step 3

Make the stuffing first (you can also make the stuffing a day ahead of time). Heat the oil in a medium sized pan and stir in the onions. Sauté over medium to high heat for 5 minutes.

Step 4

Stir in the pine nuts to the onions, sauté over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the rice, currants, chopped tomato, tomato paste, spices and season with salt to your taste. Pour in the hot water (about 240 ml/ 8 fl oz. / 1 cup) and combine all well. Bring to the boil then cover to simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Rice will be “al dente” and still have a bite to it. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Step 5

Once cool, stir in the chopped dill and parsley to the aromatic rice and combine well. Check the seasoning and add more salt or ground black pepper if you’d like. Set aside to cool. You can cook this delicious aromatic rice a day ahead of time and keep in the fridge, covered. This really helps the flavors to blend in and phase your cooking time wise.

Step 6

Now, open the mussels. If you’ve bought the mussels in a vacuum bag, open the bag over a bowl to catch any liquid inside. Place the mussels in a large bowl and rinse under cold water. Scrub the shells clean and scrape off any dirt. Using a blunt knife, carefully force the point of the knife into the gap at the pointy end of each mussel (if opening the shells become challenging, soaking them in warm water helps to open the shell, as it relaxes the mussels). Slice through the meat so the shell opens with half the meat attached to each half shell – once you cut through the thick, round connecting muscle at the bottom of the mussel, it will be easy to open.

Step 7

Pour the juice from the mussel to a bowl. Snip off the beards and using your finger, remove any grit at the base. Spread the half shells to tear the muscle of the mussel, but leave the two halves connected. Put about 2 tsp. of stuffing into the middle of each mussel (try not to overfill) and push the half shells together again.

Step 8

Place the mussels on a wide heavy pan, with the tips pointing outwards towards the edge of the pan, with the shells slightly overlapping (to prevent them opening). Build a tight spiral of shells in the center of the pan. There should be one layer of mussels, so if you have mussels left over, use another pan to keep on the layering. Place a wide plate over the mussels to prevent them from opening too wide while they cook.

Step 9

Strain the mussel juice through a sieve lined with a double layer of muslin (cheese cloth) three times to remove any grit. Mix the mussel juice with water, make it up about 250 ml/ 9 oz. / generous 1 cup water (have another 1 cup of water ready if you are using two pans). Pour this mixture to the pan; the water level should only reach to the half of the shell. Cover the pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Step 10

Remove the mussels from the heat and leave to cool at room temperature. Then cover and keep them in the fridge for 30 minutes – 1 hour to cool further and for the flavors to settle. Serve stuffed mussels with aromatic rice, midye dolma on a big platter with lemon wedges by the side. They are best enjoyed eating with your hands, using the top shell to scoop the mixture out of the bottom shell, with a generous squeeze of lemon over the mussel with aromatic rice.

Note 1: Opening the shell of the live mussels may seem a little challenging at first; soaking them in warm water helps to open the shell, as it relaxes the mussels. Make sure to discard any broken or open shells. Tap any half open shells; do not use any that do not close immediately.

NOTE 2: The herby, aromatic rice itself is really delicious and you can make it ahead of time. It can be a day ahead of time and kept in the fridge, covered; it really helps for the flavors to settle.

NOTE 3: Plenty of onions in the aromatic rice really go well; they pack a lot of flavor combined with currants, pine nuts, herbs and spices. I like to add a little red pepper flakes to bring a delicious but not over powering heat to the mussels.

NOTE 4: Try not to over stuff the mussels with the aromatic rice, as the rice will need a little space to cook further.


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