Goan Xinaneao (Mussels)

Summers in Goa meant visiting the fish market at least everyday to check out the fresh catch of the day. The fishmongers’ tables would be gleaming with ocean fish, shrimp, crabs, lobsters and shellfish.

One of my favorite shellfish is mussels and here’s my mother’s very simple recipe. In Konkani, the language spoken widely in Goa, mussels are called ‘Xinaneao’ or pronounced shee-naa-neo.

Mussels can be found already shelled and frozen. But should you find them still in their shells, I’ve included how to clean and shell them.


• 1 -2 lbs mussels or buy a frozen bag
• 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
• 1 teaspoon of chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
• 1 teaspoon salt
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 3-4 tablespoons of cream of wheat
• 2 tablespoons of cooking oil


  1. If using shelled mussels, select those which are not cracked or open. Wash them well 3 to 4 times under running water to remove sand and unwanted debris.

  2. Remove the beard and again wash all the mussels.

  3. Hold a mussel with a kitchen towel in one hand and with a small thin sharp knife in the other hand, open the mussel. OR you could keep it in the freezer for 10 minutes to help open easily. OR you could quickly steam them for 3 minutes.

  4. Use the knife to remove the mussel meat from the shell.

  5. Marinate the clean mussels with salt, spice powders and lemon juice.

  6. After 30 minutes roll the mussels in cream of wheat on all sides.

  7. Place the mussels in the refrigerator as the cold will let the cream of wheat adhere to the meat.

  8. Now shallow fry the mussels in oil till crispy in a hot pan.

  9. Eat it as an appetizer or as a side dish with a squeeze of lemon.

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