This is not a spice-ladened dish in terms of heat, but a wonderful combination of flavors. Use this recipe for a first course followed by pad thai or right by itself. Most all the Thai ingredients can now be found in any good supermarket.
- 36 mussels (about 3 pounds), scrubbed and rinsed
- Two 13 1/2-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk (3 1/2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
- 1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, coarsely chopped (about 1/3 cup), or 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
- 3 Kaffir lime leaves or 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice plus 1'/2 teaspoons grated lime zest
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 4 plum tomatoes, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Debeard the mussels if necessary.
Bring the coconut milk to a boil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium, and whisk in the curry paste. Add the broth, basil, lemongrass, juice, fish sauce, and lime eaves. Simmer uncovered 10 minutes. Strain the sauce into a bowl and reserve.
Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over high heat. Add the mussels. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the strained curry sauce and tomatoes. Cover, and cook until the mussels open, 6 to 8 minutes.
Discard any mussels that do not open. Transfer everything to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle it with the cilantro and serve.
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