Thai Mussels

dsc_0090RECIPE #395, DAY #569


ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Thai-Style Mussels,” from Reader’s Digest’s Fight Back with Food*

TIMING: 20 minutes to soak the mussels, and then 10 minutes

DIFFICULTY: Easy, but shellfish can be intimidating

TOOLS: Saute pan with lid

COOK TYPE: Stovetop

HEALTH: We could most of us use to add more fish and shellfish to our diet. High in protein and vitamin and nutrients, this preparation adds coconut, herbs, and healthful alliums. Serve with steamed Jasmine rice and a simple vegetable for an easy, healthy supper.

EXPERIENCE: My son loves mussels. His love affair with shrimp, clams, and crab has waxed and waned through the years, but his devotion to mussels had remained solid. We were at the grocery store the day before a big winter storm was expected to obliterate his birthday party. So when he looked up at me with a bag of mussels in his hands and asked please, of course I said yes.

The next morning we woke up to impassable roads and closed infrastructure. I cancelled his party and did my best to fill the day with board games, movies, and enjoyable eats. For dinner? Those mussels, which I whipped up in a Thai-inspired broth (instead of the usual wine and garlic).

My new nine-year-old found himself surprised that he enjoyed the coconut broth almost as much as the mussels.

NOTES: Mussels–and seafood in general–are an acquired taste. My husband hates mussels because of their appearance and texture, as well as their brininess. He bites the bullet every once in awhile, since they are his son’s fave.

Mussels need to be kept in the fridge and eaten soon after buying.


  1. Soak 2-3 pounds mussels in a large bowl of cold water for 20 minutes.
  2. Lift the mussels out of the water and place in a strainer, then dump the water into the sink and rinse out the bowl. Inspect each mussel before placing back in the bowl: rinse, scrub if needed, de-beard, and discard if cracked or it refuses to close. Do the whole batch. Set aside.
  3. In a wide, deep saute pan with a lid, heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil over medium heat. Add 5 sliced scallions, 3 sliced cloves garlic, and 2 tablespoons grated ginger. Cook until aromatic and tender.
  4. Add 3/4 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, water or juice, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add mussels, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. The mussels will pop open. Remove from heat and serve right away, topped with 1/2 cup minced cilantro, with lime wedges for squirting.


Serve with steamed Jasmine rice, sambal oolek, and a simple steamed vegetable (like broccoli). This would also make a fine appetizer.

LEFTOVER IDEAS: I do not do shellfish leftover. Period.

*Recipe changed from the original.


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