Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thai Red Curry Mussels

Alex has been in charge of dinner the last few nights so I thought it was only fair that I be in charge of dinner this evening.  So I hit Whole Foods after work today and picked up some mussels.  I love mussels, but we rarely cook them because the whole process of cleaning and debearding them is annoying, plus the fact that you should really cook them the day that you purchase them doesn't always work for me.  But tonight it did!  And the mussels were lovely.  They were very flavorful - it isn't often that the mussels can stand alone without their broth, but these totally could.  Alex and I both thought our mussels were better than the mussels I had a month or two ago at Fatty Crab (which I consider to be incredibly high praise since that is one of our favorite restaurants).  Our mussels were plump, juicy and full of flavor.  The red curry broth had a nice level of heat and flavor - if you don't like things spicy I would cut back on the amount of red curry paste, but I found the spice level to be perfect.  

We served the mussels with some coconut rice.  Generally I like some nice crusty bread to dip into the mussel broth, but since we were making Thai-inspired mussels, I thought rice would be the ideal accompaniment.  The rice added another level of flavor and texture, and was delicious when drizzled with the red curry broth.

Recipe after the jump!

Thai Red Curry Mussels

2 tbsp peanut oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and pounded
1 lemongrass stalk
5 dried Thai red chilis
2 dried kaffir lime leaves
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp palm sugar
2 lbs. mussels, cleaned and debearded
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped

Heat peanut oil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is warm, add the garlic, lemongrass, Thai chilis, and kaffir lime leaves.  Saute, stirring regularly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add red curry paste.  Stir to coat ingredients in red curry paste and to melt the red curry paste into the oil.  Add coconut milk, water, fish sauce, and palm sugar.  Bring ingredients to a boil.  Taste and add more fish sauce or sugar to taste.  If the broth is too spicy, add a little coconut milk.  Add mussels to pot.  Stir with a wooden spoon to coat mussels with red curry broth.  Cover with lid and cook until all mussels open, about 3 minutes.

Transfer mussels and broth to a serving bowl.  Top with cilantro.  Serve immediately with coconut rice.

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