Curried Coconut Mussels
It’s not very often that I get the pleasure of cooking for my loved ones. Jason and I live such hectic, full-to-the-brim, jam-packed lives that it’s hard to find time to treat my family and friends to a home-cooked meal. So when I found out my mom was going to be in town dog-sitting for my brother last week, I jumped at the opportunity to spoil her! She’s been so supportive of my culinary passion and I think it’s safe to say it has rubbed off on her a little too. I wanted to make something I knew she wouldn’t normally make herself, in hopes of exciting her taste buds a bit. We just ate these curried mussels out of the bowl with a chunk of bread to soak up the broth. This would be equally delicious over a bed of rice. Or if you’re not a fan of mussels, try it with shrimp!
I love cooking shellfish like mussels and clams because you can do it all in one pot (easy clean-up!) and it will all come together in just 10-15 minutes. In Seattle, we’re blessed to have incredibly fresh, meaty mussels from Penn Cove which is just a short drive from where I live. If you’ve never cooked mussels before, don’t worry! Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Buy them fresh the day you plan to eat them, if possible. Keep them cool on ice until you’re ready to cook.
- Rinse and scrub them lightly to get rid of any barnacles or loose shell fragments.
- Pull off the “beard” (the fibers that attach a mussel to a rock).
- If any mussels don’t open during cooking, don’t eat them.
Curried Coconut Mussels
2lbs of fresh mussels, cleaned
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
generous pinch of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of curry powder
1 teaspoon of lemongrass, minced (optional, see note below)
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of coconut milk
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
1 lime cut into wedges
In a large, deep pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, curry powder, and lemongrass and saute for another 1-2 minutes. If the garlic starts to turn brown, pull the pan off the burner and lower the heat immediately. Once the mixture is fragrant, add in the tomatoes and coconut milk. Simmer for about 5 minutes so the flavors begin to meld together.
Add the mussels to the pot and cover with the lid. Simmer, covered for about 8-10 minutes or until all the mussels have popped open. Discard the mussels that didn’t open. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and a light squeeze of lime juice. Serve with rice or bread.
**For lemongrass, peel off the tough outer “leaves” on the lemongrass stalk until you get to the tender interior. You’ll have to dig deep and you’ll only get a little bit per stalk.