Chefs' Recipes

Stanbuli's stuffed mussels (midye dolma)

“These are among my favourite Istanbul street foods,” says Ibrahim Kasif. “Vendors usually display them piled up on trays lined with newspapers, exposed to the elements. They’re made to sell fast because the vendor might need to move quickly if they’re caught by the police or council authorities. The mussels are insanely good: room temperature, peppery and fragrant with allspice.”

  • 45 mins preparation mins
  • 45 mins cooking mins
  • Serves 6 - 8
  • Print
Stuffed mussels from Stanbuli, Enmore


  • 1 kg large black mussels, scrubbed
  • 60 ml olive oil (¼ cup)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1½ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 150 gm baldo rice, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • Lemon wedges, to serve


  • 1
    Empty mussels into a large bowl and pick out any broken or small-shelled mussels to make a stock, place these in a saucepan with 350ml water and bring to the boil, then remove from heat. Refrigerate remaining whole mussels, covered with a damp tea towel.
  • 2
    Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cinnamon quill and sauté until onion is translucent (7-10 minutes). Add allspice and pepper and cook gently until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add rice, stir to coat well, then add sugar and a good pinch of salt. Strain mussel water into rice, bring to the boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until rice absorbs liquid (15 minutes). Remove from heat, remove lid, cover with a tea towel and set aside to cool briefly.
  • 3
    Shuck raw mussels by inserting a small sharp knife at the flat side near the beard, and draw it along to the rounded side, twisting slightly to release the connective tissue. The mussel should still be connected to the shell and should still close. Remove beard. Fill mussel flesh with ½ tbsp of rice mixture. Close shells, place in a large, wide saucepan and repeat with remaining mussels and rice. Add 150ml cold water to the pan, cover and simmer over medium heat until cooked through (2-3 minutes). Serve with lemon wedges.
  • 4
    Note Baldo rice is a medium-grain rice available from Turkish grocers. If it's unavailable, use another medium-grain rice.


Drink Suggestion: Efes Pilsener from Turkey Drink suggestion by Joe Valore