Working With What You Have: Coconut Curry Mussels

EVENT: BGSK Writers’ Retreat
VENUE: Cara’s Mother’s House, Long Island
TYPE: Last Supper, Cooking Up the Cupboard
MENU: Coconut Curry Mussels; Bibb Lettuce with Soy-Sesame Vinaigrette; No-Knead Bread

We know: we’ve been dragging out the recipes from our January book writing retreat for a long time now. You’ll be glad to know that this is the last of the lot, our last supper of the trip itself and of those featured on the blog. But the mussels were a wonderful way to end the week. So special even, that we’ve waited until now to share them with you. Though they’re available year-round, making them now, in April, will make them seem like they’re heralding spring in.

We spent very little money at the grocery store that week. Probably because most of what we ate involved spaghetti. But by the last afternoon we were down to our last few shallots, and we had a can of coconut milk still waiting to be used up. We also had half a loaf of No-Knead Bread waiting to be drenched in delicious sauces or slathered with scallion butter.

That last day, we decided to put the book-related brainstorming on hold and take a load off our minds by giving our legs some exercise. Perhaps it was the ocean air, but by the end of our jaunt, both of us were craving seafood, and we were both thinking the same thing: mussels.

Mussels are super cheap, and for but $5 dollars we added 2 pounds of them to our dinner table. I got to work chopping the remainder of our garlic, ginger, and shallots, and Cara threw together an Asian-inspired vinaigrette for our salad before taking the aromatics off my hands to saute. The dish came together in minutes and, save for some slightly stale curry powder, the mussels turned out perfectly creamy, spicy, and satisfying enough to celebrate our last night out of the city.

From our kitchen, where we’re finally flexing our mussels, to yours,



Coconut Curry Mussels
Makes 2 servings


3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 small shallots, thinly sliced
1 2-inch knob ginger, minced
¼ cup cilantro
3 scallions (light and dark),
1/3 cup mirin or rice wine (or white wine)
1 15oz can coconut milk (we prefer light)
1 tsp curry powder
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cayenne
½ tsp salt
2lb mussels, soaked, cleaned and beards removed
crusty bread for serving

cilantro for garnish

In a large pot, sauté the garlic, shallot, and ginger in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Let the vegetables sweat and become fragrant, about 2 minutes, then add half of the cilantro, scallions, and rice wine. Allow the wine to simmer and reduce, then add the coconut milk, curry powder, cumin, cayenne, and salt.

Simmer the mixture for 3 minutes to allow the flavors to combine, then add the mussels and cover the pot. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until all the shells are open (discard any that fail to do so). Spoon the mussels and their broth into individual bowls, garnish with the remaining cilantro, and serve immediately with crusty bread and a side salad.

  • Rachel @ MWF Seeking BFF

    And now I’m craving shellfish. At 9:30 am. Coconut curry anything gets a thumbs up in my book. Can’t wait to try it out!

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  • Chef Aimee

    What a great recipe for mussels…they are so easy and serving them Belgian style with some fries and a nice Belgian white beer is a great summer dish!

  • shayma

    looks like a lovely dish- would love to try that spiced coconut curry. perfect for dipping the crusty bread in. x shayma

  • nooneputsbabyinthecorner

    I made this over the weekend and it was fantastic.  It’s one of those dishes that seems fancy but is actually quite easy to make and inexpensive to boot.  I at least doubled all of the spices except the salt. I can’t wait to make this again!

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