Japanese Dynamite Mussels are one of my favorite appetizers of all time. Served on the half shell, these are baked to perfection in a rich, creamy, spicy Dynamite Sauce.
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I was first introduced to Baked Mussels from my time working at a local Japanese sushi restaurant. It seemed like nearly every customer began their meal with an order of Japanese Dynamite Mussels appetizer. One of the perks of working at the restaurant was assisting the chef and learning the many recipes the sushi restaurant offered. This allowed me to develop this Baked Mussels recipe you can make at home.
What Type of Mussels Work Best for Dynamite Mussels?
For this baked mussels recipe, I use frozen New Zealand green-lipped mussels, also known as New Zealand greenshell mussels. These are by far the most accessible variety and can be found at most grocery stores. They’re stored in the freezer aisle, usually in a 2 pound box. The mussels come partially cooked on a half shell so they’re super easy to prepare.
New Zealand greenshell mussels are high in vitamins and minerals and have anti-inflammatory properties. They’re also very low in calories, with only 90 calories in 6 mussels! I can eat about a dozen of these and not feel guilty. Well, until I drench them in Dynamite Sauce and we all know what happens. It’s a good thing mussels begin as a low calorie food.
How to Make Japanese Dynamite Sauce
The mussels are baked in a spicy mayonnaise-based sauce called Japanese Dynamite Sauce. This is the same sauce used in Seafood Dynamite and often found baked or drizzled on top of sushi rolls. It’s also used to dress spicy scallop hand rolls and poke bowls. It’s even used as a dipping sauce.
Baked or as is, Dynamite Sauce is so versatile and delicious on everything! If you can master this Japanese Dynamite Sauce, you’ll have yourself an arsenal of recipes at your fingertips.
All Japanese Dynamite Sauce recipes start with two base ingredients, mayonnaise and sriracha. Since this is a Japanese recipe, it makes sense to go with the ultimate king of mayo, Kewpie Mayonnaise. If you've never tried Kewpie mayo, it’s incredibly creamy and eggy with a slight tang that’s balanced with a touch of sweetness. If you’ve had Kewpie mayo, you know there is no substitute.
The other star of the show is the ever popular and beloved Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce. One teaspoon is all we need in Dynamite Sauce but it packs a big punch. For a milder version, feel free to go easy on the sriracha. You can also go the other way and add extra for more “dynamite!”
To tie the mayonnaise and sriracha together, we season the Dynamite Sauce with a bit of soy sauce and brighten it up with a touch of lemon juice. And that, my friends, is the ultimate Japanese Dynamite Sauce recipe.
How to Make Baked Japanese Dynamite Mussels
Prep the greenshell mussels by thawing them out in a refrigerator overnight or submerging them in a bowl of water for about 30 minutes. Every now and then you’ll find a “beard” which are the hair-like fibers that mussels use to anchor themselves to rocks or each other. The beards are not edible so snip them off to remove them.
Rinse the mussels and shells under cold water. Remove the meat from the shell as well as the adductor muscle. This is the muscle that resembles a tiny scallop that holds the two halves of the shell together. The adductor muscle is tougher than the rest of the mussel but when prepared well, it is quite delicious.
Gently squeeze out any excess liquid in the mussels then pat dry with a paper towel. Too much liquid will make the Dynamite Sauce too runny. Give the mussels a rough chop, into about 4 pieces and cut the adductor muscle in half crosswise to make it more tender.
In a mixing bowl, combine the mussels and the Dynamite Sauce ingredients (Kewpie mayonnaise, sriracha, soy sauce and lemon juice), as well as half of the masago and half of the scallions. Reserve the other half for garnish.
Give the ingredients a good mix. Dry the shells with a paper towel and line them on a baking sheet. Spoon the mixture into the shells.
Now they’re ready to bake. I like to use a toaster oven for this dish. The tight quarters work particularly well. Set your toaster oven to broil at 400°F. A preheated oven set to broil on high will work as well. Broil the mussels for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them for the last couple of minutes. The sauce should be bubbling in the shells. Remove from the oven when the mussels develop a nice golden color. Garnish them with the rest of the masago and scallions and serve immediately.
My Japanese Baked Dynamite Mussels recipe is super simple and affordable, you’ll start questioning if they’re worth paying high prices for at your local sushi joint. Looking for another Japanese restaurant appetizer to impress your friends? Agedashi tofu is a nice complement.
- 1 dozen frozen New Zealand greenshell mussels on the half shell
- 2 tablespoon masago (smelt roe), reserve half for garnish
- 1 stalk scallions (only the green part), reserve half for garnish
- Thaw the mussels by submerging in water for about 30 minutes. Once they’re fully defrosted, remove any “beards” you find and give the mussels and shells a good rinse under cold water.
- Preheat your oven by setting it to broil on high. If you’re using a toaster oven, set it to broil at 400°F.
- Remove the meat and adductor muscle from its shell. Give the mussels a light squeeze to remove excess liquid. Chop the mussels into 4 pieces and slice the adductor muscle in half crosswise.
- In a bowl, combine the chopped mussels and Dynamite Sauce ingredients (Kewpie mayo, sriracha, soy sauce, and lemon juice). Mix in half of the masago and half of the scallions. Reserve the other half for garnish.
- Dry and line the shells on a baking sheet. Spoon the mixture into the shells.
- Broil the mussels in the oven or toaster oven for about 10 minutes, until they’re golden with caramelized bits. Keep an eye on them for the last couple of minutes.
- Garnish with the remaining masago and scallions and serve immediately.