Nik's Coconut Curried Mussels with Yogurt
Back in Bombay we ate plenty of seafood, two, maybe three times a week. A local fisherman would deliver fresh fish right to our doorstep, and my mom would always bargain for a better deal. They'd go back and forth, each trying to get the best of the other. This is how I learned to haggle, though I do so less efficiently than my mother.
This Goan-based recipe, based on my mother's, has all the goodness of a rich and flavorful Indian curry, but it's much lighter. When I make it, my kitchen fills up with the aroma of the sautéed onions, ginger, garlic, and spices. The mussels simmer in vinegar and coconut milk, and by the time the yogurt gets folded in, everyone's hungry from the fragrance alone. A splash of fresh lime juice and sprinkling of cilantro brightens the flavors and ties them all together.
Makes 4 servings
2 1/2 pounds mussels
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 can coconut milk (light is okay)
1/2 cup white rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 or 4 fresh or dried curry leaves (do not substitute curry powder)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice of 2 freshly squeezed limes
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Warm, toasted bread or plain rice, for serving
Scrub the mussels clean under cold water, removing any beards. Keep the cleaned mussels on ice.
In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil on a medium flame. Sauté the onions, garlic and ginger for about 3 minutes, or until the onions turn translucent. Add the turmeric, cumin, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
Stir in the coconut milk, vinegar, cayenne, and curry leaves.
Add the cleaned mussels and cover the stockpot. Bring the broth to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, until the mussels open. Reduce the heat to low.
Beat the yogurt in a small bowl and mix it into the broth along with the lime juice. Taste the broth; season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Discard any mussels that did not open during cooking.
Garnish with cilantro. Serve hot with warm toasted bread or plain rice.
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Photograph, Words + Recipe © Nik Sharma