Mussels Stuffed with Rice (Midye Dolmasi)


  • 3 tbsp currants
  • 30 large mussels in their shells (~2 pounds / 1 kg), scrubbed and beards removed
  • 1 cup virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice, washed, soaked and drained
  • 1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 quart / 1 lt fish stock or the lightly salt ed water in which the mussels first soak, divided
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters

How to make Mussels Stuffed with Rice (Midye Dolmasi)

  1. Soak the currants in warm water for 20 minutes. Drain them and set them aside.
  2. Place the mussels in a large bowl, cover them with lightly salted water (at least 4 cups if you plan to use this water instead of the fish stock), and let them stand for about 10 minutes.
  3. Make the stuffing: heat 3/4 cup of the olive oil in a medium saucepan and cook the pine nuts for about 2 minutes until they’re golden brown.
  4. Add the rice, tomato, and onion, stir, and cook for 2 more minutes.
  5. Stir in the currants, sugar, cinnamon, and 2 cups of fish stock (or the salted water in which the mussels soaked).
  6. Cover the pan, lower the heat, and cook gently for 20 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat, add the dill and parsley, season with salt and pepper, and stir.
  8. Drain the water from the mussels (reserve it if you are using it instead of stock), and working over the bowl, pry open the mussels, taking care not to cut the hinge or break the shells.
  9. Reserve the mussel juice that collects in the bowl.
  10. Place about 1 tablespoon of stuffing in each mussel.
  11. Close the shells and place them in a deep ovenproof pan or casserole.
  12. Pour in the remaining fish stock (or 2 cups of the soaking water), the mussel juices, and the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil.
  13. Cover the surface of the mussels with crumpled wet parchment paper.
  14. Weight down the paper with an ovenproof plate fitted inside the pan. (Weighting down the mussels will keep them from opening during cooking.)
  15. Cover the pan and bring the liquid to a boil; then lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.
  16. Let the mussels cool, then refrigerate them for at least an hour.
  17. Serve them chilled or at room temperature.
  18. To eat them, open a mussel and break off the top shell, squeeze on a little lemon juice, and use the loose shell to scoop out and eat the stuffing.
  19. ENJOY!

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