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Mussels and Tofu in Sweet Smoked Paprika Sauce

Today is Ash Wednesday which starts the Season of Lent for Christians around the world. For many, Lenten traditions include fasting and/or abstaining from certain food. I grew up observing the Catholic tradition of abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. I know that many Catholics whether Filipino or non-Filipino observe this. To make it a little easier for my readers who do, I'll be sharing non-meat (by meat, we only mean beef, chicken and and seafood are not included) recipes starting today and in the next Fridays within the 40-day period of Lent. This is what I did last year, and many found it helpful so I'm doing it again.

Let me start with this mussels recipe that I came up using the smoked paprika powder that I received from La Chinata two weeks ago.  

You see, I am a fan of paprika...but only the regular or plain kind. I like how it adds color and flavor to fish, shrimps and meat. The McCormick brand is what I buy most of the time. I've also used store brand ones like that of Kroger & Walmart...but I honestly have never tried high quality brands nor other varieties of it like the pimentón de La Vera (smoked) kind nor the dulce (sweet and mild), agridulce (bittersweet and medium hot) and picante (hot) ones. 

La Chinata offered to send me samples of their Sweet and Hot Smoked Paprika Powder, and I accepted. I haven't seen this brand in nearby stores so I thought this would be a good chance to try it out.
From the moment I opened the can, I already smelled the difference. Unlike the regular paprika, this La Chinata paprika powder which was made from Capsicum annum and longum peppers that are dried by smoking using oak wood, has of course a distinct smoky aroma. 

Yesterday, I made this Mussels and Tofu in Paprika Sauce. This is a very easy to prepare mussel dish which I came up from the simple ingredients I have in the refrigerator. For this, I used the sweet smoked paprika that I got because I didn't want it to be too strong for my daughters. I must say it worked really well on this dish. It was just an experiment, but since it came out good, I want to share it with you. The mild smoky flavor of La Chinata Sweet Smoked Paprika brought the ordinary mussels to a different level.
So, did I like La Chinata Smoked Paprika Powder? Yes! Will I recommend it? Yes! But let me tell you that in choosing the paprika for your dish, you should consider what kind of flavor you want for it. You should decide first whether you want it sweet or hot, mild or pungent, and from there you can choose what paprika variety you prefer. 

I haven't tried other brands of smoked paprika so I am in no position to say if La Chinata is the best. But if just for the smoky flavor and aroma, it's good enough and I will definitely recommend it.  If you want to try it for yourself, you can check out CASA PONS USA and La Tienda.

  • 24 pcs. mussels in half shells, (I used boxed mussels that are already in half shells. If you want to use fresh mussels, blanch them in boiling water until the shells open. Take off half the shell and use the half that has the mussel in it.)
  • 3 Tbsp pure olive oil 
  • 2 pcs. firm tofu, cut into 1-inch strips and fried 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 Tbsp ginger, minced 
  • 1 medium sized onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour 
  • 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • ¾ cup water 
  • 2 pcs. Jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and sliced into rings
  • 5 stalks green onions, bias-sliced into about 1 inch pieces
  • ½ Tbsp parsley flakes for garnish
  • salt and pepper

1. In a big skillet over medium heat, saute garlic, ginger and onion in olive oil until onion is almost translucent. 
2. Add mussels. Saute until juice starts to come out. Sprinkle with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Mix well. Cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until mussels are fully cooked. Transfer mussels to a plate, leaving the the sauce in the pan.
3. Add flour to the sauce while stirring until sauce thickens. Add paprika and stir. Slowly add water and continue to stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to suit your taste.
4. Add tofu, jalapeño and green onions. Mix well with other ingredients. Simmer for another minute. Put the mussels back into the pan and mix well until covered with sauce.
5. Remove from heat. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with parsley flakes. Serve with steamed rice.


  1. Another wonderful flavoursome seafood dish - you outdo yourself every time my friend :D

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: 5 Min Wrap Pizza

  2. I have been seeing a few mussel dishes, however, I like yours the best so far because of the way the shells are holding the sauce! As far as I am concerned that is definitely the best way to capture all the wonderful flavor ingredients you put in here! Creative and delicious post Tina!

  3. Hi Tina,

    This is a gorgeous--and I do mean GORGEOUS dish! Mussels and tofu together is genius, and it's a wonderful combination for Lent. I grew up in Mobile, Alabama on the Gulf Coast, and my family observed the traditions of Lent with the best seafood and fish dinners I can remember eating. Thanks for bringing back this memory for me. And, as I have said before, you do excellent work with the step-by-step photos of your dishes. Wonderful, wonderful post!

    1. Thanks! Good food really brings back wonderful memories! :)

  4. Yummy dish , Tina ! Love the paprika's flavor and it really goes well with seafood . That sauce will be a great pasta sauce , too ;D

  5. delicious looking mussels looks wonderful

  6. A very delightful dish. Eating the sauce from the mussel shells would give the sauce lots of extra flavour.

  7. MY mouthwatering just to see these pictures,I love mussel and tofu,but never thought cook them together,Yummy,,,Yummy :)

  8. I also like the flavors of paprika and its a good change to local curry powder and my brand is the same as McCormick. Nice outcome with the mussels and tofu with the sample of paprika you received. Wonder whether this brand you have used is available over at my place bc from your review, its a worth the try brand.

    1. Not so sure, but it might be available in some gourmet stores in Malaysia, Nava.

  9. This dish looks really interesting! Just amazing!

  10. Cool! Never thought that mussels & tofu could mix. Interesting!

  11. Oh Tina, these mussels look fabulous, so tasty with all the spices in it. Beautiful presentation as well.
    Hope you are having a fantastic week :)

  12. Tina - I'm so glad that you got turned on to "real" paprika. A friend gave me some sweet and smoked a couple of years ago and it was a life changing experience. :) The smoked is my favorite and I can only imagine how it takes mussels (which I'm not a big fan of) and makes them fabulous! I love all of those jalapenos as well! Your recipe looks deeeeeelicious!

    1. I'm glad I was able to try it, MJ! It's awesome!

  13. Tina, your presentation is always top notch! Everything looks so lovely! :-)

  14. Oh that looks super delicious. I'm a huge, huge fan of Smoked Paprika - it's so yummy

  15. Awesome post! Very detailed! Looks very yummy!

  16. Where do u buy the la chinata powder?is it any location to buy at malaysia?

    1. I'm not sure if it's available in Malaysia. It is available via though.