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Kerala Style Mussels Fry (Kallumakkaya Varattiyathu)

Mussels sauteed with ginger-garlic and spices. A spicy dish, and very common in Northern Kerala (Malabar). It can be served as an appetizer or as a side dish with rice. It tastes the best with coconut oil.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, kerala
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Author Jane Jojo


  • 1/2 kilogram Mussels / Kallumakkaya / Kadukka(deshelled)
  • 1/2 cup shallot (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (crushed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 3 sprigs curry leaves
  • Coconut oil / vegetable oil / sunflower oil


  1. Clean mussels - Place your mussels in a colander or bowl in the sink and run them under cold water. Rinse and scrub as necessary.
  2. De-shell the mussel - These mussels had quite hard shells and were difficult to open up using hands. I chose this way to deshell them. Place 2 to 3 inch of water in a saucepan with a steamer and bring to a boil. Add the mussels to the steamer and cover. Reduce heat to medium and let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Take it out of the steamer and de-shell. It's easy to open up the shell once it's steamed. Also, remove the dirt out of the mussel. Do it in batches.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and add finely sliced shallot and curry leaves. Saute until it becomes golden brown color.
  4. Crush ginger and garlic or make it into a paste. Add ginger-garlic and saute it well.
  5. Add turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Saute it well. Add oil as required to fry the masalas.
  6. Add cleaned mussels, enough salt, vinegar and cover and cook. Don't add water. Mussels have water in them, which seeps out while cooking. ** Vinegar is optional. I like slight sourness in the dish and hence added it.
  7. Ideally, it should get cooked by the time water gets dried up. Add sufficient oil around 2 tbsp oil. Fry it up to the consistency you wish to have. Enjoy :)

Recipe Notes

Tastes best with coconut oil.