How to Cook Creamy Turmeric Mussels (Masak Lemak)

A Wok Around Asia Recipe Courtesy of Symphony By Chef Jo Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur

Creamy Turmeric Mussels, aka Mussels Masak Lemak, is an easy, yet delicious example of the eclectic cuisine style served up by Masterchef Malaysia judge Chef Jo at his Damansara restaurant, Symphony by Chef Jo. The sauce is a signature Minangkabau recipe from my home state of Negeri Sembilan, and the creaminess is derived from palm coconut milk, though regular coconut milk or even fresh milk or cream are perfectly acceptable substitutes. Similarly, if you’re not into mussels, this recipe will work just as well with any other kind of seafood.

As with all the recipes in my Wok Around Asia collection, I’ve retained the ingredient measurements as supplied to me by the respective chefs, in case you’re wondering why I’ve suddenly decided to weigh items like garlic and onion.

Click to watch the 5-minute video with Chef Jo cooking in his kitchen >>

Creamy Turmeric Mussels (Mussel Masak Lemak)


30g  onion

15g ginger

1 pc lemongrass

15g garlic

10g green chillies

5g green bird’s eye chillies

5g fresh turmeric

120ml santan kelapa sawit (palm coconut milk)

500g Chilean mussels

kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced, to garnish

2 Tbsp olive oil

salt and sugar to taste


  1. Start by blending all the vegetables in a food processor. Then sauté the blended paste in hot olive oil until fragrant.
  2. Add in coconut milk and reduce the heat. Season with salt and sugar. Let boil then simmer.
  3. Add in the mussels, simmer until shells open. Adjust seasoning.
  4. Dish out and top with kaffir lime leaves. Served with freshly baked bread of your choice.


My Wok Around Asia Kuala Lumpur project is made possible through the support of the following >>


Rode Mic

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