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[Recipe] Mussels cooked in ginger, garlic, butter, old bay seasoning, and soju

Mussels cooked in ginger, garlic, butter, old bay seasoning, and soju 

Saw some fresh mussels in the market the other day so I decided to try out a new recipe I have always wanted to test. I seldom cook with soju but I really liked how the broth turned out. There's a slight heat coming from the old bay seasoning and shichi-mi tōgarashi that I really liked. I think I can call this experiment a success. :)

500 grams mussels (cleaned and debearded)
1/3 cup soju
1 whole bulb of garlic (minced)
thumb size ginger (peeled, then grated - I often do this to maximize the ginger taste by having bits of ginger in the dish but the fiber is left out)
100 grams unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or oregano powder)
1 teaspoon shichi-mi tōgarashi (optional if you want to adjust the heat, or use cayenne pepper)
salt and ground white pepper to taste

In a medium sized saucepan, sauté the garlic in oil until slightly browned. Add the grated ginger, smoked Paprika, old bay seasoning, shichi-mi tōgarashi, and oregano. Place the cleaned mussels in the pan then pour in the soju. Mix the shells then cover and let the mussels steam/cook for about 10 to 12 minutes or until most of the shells are partially open (mixing them up from time to time so that the top ones get to soak in the flavors of the broth below - the amount of soju doesn't seem like much but the broth do tend to increase while cooking probably coming from the mussels themselves). Add salt and ground white pepper based on the taste of the broth (I tend to be heavy handed in the salt since I usually consume the broth with steamed rice but you can cut back if you intend to just sip the broth with the mussels). Once most of the mussels are cooked, remove from the heat and place the butter and mix thoroughly making sure that the broth and the bits of garlic and ginger go inside the shells. Test a few mussels, the meat should be firm enough that you can pluck them out of the shell intact but not tough and shriveled (signs that you over cooked them). Serve in a wide shallow bowl and pour the remaining broth on top. Enjoy!  

Enjoy the broth while eating the mussels or pour over steamed rice

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