Two quintessential kiwi dishes get an Asian makeover. Chinese sausage adds a sweet and smoky dimension to mussel fritters. And the Asian potato salad with its miso, ginger, and garlic becomes a much more diverse and delectable dish.
If you search Google for mussel fritters, you will see that 6 of the first 10 results are New Zealand websites. It appears that not only are they a very kiwi dish; they are not particularly popular anywhere else. Surprising, really, because they are so delicious. Perhaps it is the use of New Zealand green-lipped mussels that makes the difference.
Frozen New Zealand green-lipped mussels in the half-shell are available to buy in Saigon. Thank-you Talleys. Big, juicy, and tasty… really not too dissimilar from the fresh ones.
While mussels are the star of the dish, the antipodean version would often include bacon or chorizo. In this reimagined version, Chinese sausage (or lạp xưởng in Vietnamese) replaces the bacon. The flavour of Chinese sausage is quite distinct from its European cousins. Its sweet and smoky character works extremely well with the mussels bold flavour.
Another great recipe that pairs New Zealand mussels with Chinese flavours is this Mussels in a Spicy Sichuan Broth. Here the bold taste of the mussels is a great match for the spicy Sichuan flavours.
Asian potato and broccolini salad
Instead of potatoes being suffocated by mayonnaise, here we have the much lighter yet more complex ginger garlic miso dressing. Drawing on influences from Japan and South East Asia, this dressing really transforms what is often a stodgy bland dish into something amazing.
The broccolini links this dish to the present, as it was only grown commercially starting in the relatively recent 1990’s. A wonderful vegetable if you can get it. It is at its best after just a couple of minutes of cooking, whether blanching or sautéing. A crunchy, tasty, and the very healthy vegetable that we all know we need!
As with the Chinese sausage in the fritters, the roasted red peppers were not a typical addition to the classic kiwi potato salad. But I love roasted red peppers, and they fit perfectly in this Asian potato salad.
Mussel fritters and potato salad with flavours of Asia
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 medium eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or unsweetened drinking yogurt
- 1 tsp salt
- 500 g mussel meat diced into max 5x5mm pieces
- 100 g chinese sausage lap xuong, diced into max 5x5mm pieces)
- 4 cloves garlic
- grated rind of a lemon
- 1 large mild chilli finely diced
- 1 medium onion
- 1 cup spinach diced, cooked, and well drained
- 1/4 cup Parmesan
Potato and broccolini salad
- 300 g new potatoes alternatively a thin skinned potato like Yukon Golds
- 200 g broccolini
- 2 medium red peppers
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, flour, baking powder, buttermilk, and salt and set aside for 20-30 minutes.
- Finely dice the onion, chilli, and garlic. Sauté in a pan with a little olive oil and the diced chinese sausage, until the onion is soft.
- Add the sautéed onion and chinese sausage mix, the lemon rind, spinach, parmesan, and chopped mussels to the batter and stir to combine.
- In a flat pan over medium heat, add some vegetable oil and spoon in enough mixture to make an appropriately sized fritter, about 2-3 Tbsp, or a small ladle full. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
- Keep in a 130 degC oven while preparing the remaining fritters.
Potato and broccolini salad
- Wash and trim the red peppers. Roast in a 200 degC oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove any loose or burnt skin, then dice into 10×10 mm pieces (or thereabouts)
- Wash the potatoes and broccolini. Trim the lower stalks from the broccolini if necessary.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add the salt.
- Blanch the broccolini in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then refresh under very cold water or in an ice bath.
- Add the potatoes to the boiling water and boil until just tender (about 10-15 minutes).
- Drain the potatoes and let cool. Dice into bite sized pieces.
- Spread on a baking tray and roast for 15 minutes at 200 degC. Allow to cool.
Ginger miso dressing
- Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. Alternatively, mince the garlic and ginger and whisk together with the other ingredients.
- Store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to allow the flavours to meld.
Completing the potato salad
- Toss together the diced potatoes, broccolini, and diced red peppers. Drizzle over some of the ginger miso dressing and toss again. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.