Buttery mussel & sake buns

When mussel shells open on the grill, you can sneak all manner of interesting flavours into them – in this recipe, it’s butter, soy sauce and a splash of sake that gives them that authentic Japanese barbecue house taste. Photography by Todd Eyre.

  • 30 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
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Buttery mussel & sake buns
  • 12 mussels, in shells
  • 3 mandarins, halved
  • 50 gram butter, softened
  • 12 teaspoon japanese tamari sauce
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 8 sliders or small soft white rolls
  • 2 cup cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup store-bought sesame salad dressing


Buttery mussel & sake buns
  • 1
    Give the mussels a quick scrub, then remove the hairy beards by gripping firmly and pulling towards the rounded tip of the shell.
  • 2
    Place the mussels on a barbecue grill plate and cook until the shells begin to pop open.
  • 3
    Place the mandarins cut-side down on the grill plate.
  • 4
    As each mussel shell pops open, put a small knob of butter into each mussel, as well as 1 tsp tamari soy sauce. Allow to cook for a few minutes, then douse in sake and toss on the grill. Remove, then serve in a bowl with the grilled mandarins.
  • 5
    Liberally butter the tops of each bun, then grill each until butter is foamy and the tops have turned golden. Watch them as they go from golden to burnt rather quickly!
  • 6
    Set all the ingredients out on a board for diners to build their own buns, which are stuffed with mussels and cabbage, then drizzled in sesame salad dressing and a squeeze of warm mandarin juice.

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