A steaming bowl of mussels is a wonderful thing and a menu favourite for many restaurant diners. Yet few people bother to cook them at home which is a shame because they are a cheap and easy option for a lunch or supper. 2 kilos of mussels takes about 10-15 minutes to prepare; scrub them well in cold water, remove the beards (the stringy bits poking out of the sides) and discard any shells that are broken or any mussels that remain open when gently tapped. It might seem like quite a lot of mussels but a good handful usually gets thrown away during preparation. The success of this dish rests with the choice of Thai green curry paste and the kaffir lime leaves. My favourite paste is from the Mae Ploy range and you must use fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves. Fresh is ideal but they aren’t easy to find locally so I buy frozen leaves from my local Chinese supermarket. That way I always have some to hand. Don’t bother with the dried leaves-they have no fragrance or flavour.
- 2 kg mussels, prepared (see above)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or coconut oil
- 3 echalion shallots, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 teaspoons Thai green curry paste
- 400g tin coconut milk
- 5 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander or basil
- To serve crusty bread
- Make sure the mussels are prepared and ready. Heat the oil in a very large saucepan and fry the shallots and garlic over a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook for 1 minute. Turn up the heat and stir in the coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves and 150ml water. Bring to the boil and tip in the mussels. Cover with a lid and cook for 4-5 minutes until the mussels are opened. Stir in the coriander or basil and serve immediately with lots of crusty bread.