Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Thai Green Mussels

... sitting on a wall. Thai Green Mussels, sitting on wall. If one Green Mussel should accidentally fall, there'll be.... um, what's Thai minus one?! Ok, sorry, I have just had that in my head ever since I made this, and that was 4 days ago, so I needed to share it with you. I'm generous like that.

So, my sister came to visit! Yay! I think I mentioned that in a post a couple of days ago, but I didn't really take a moment to give that exciting news the proper celebration it deserves. Not that it's a rare thing for her to visit, but it just makes me so very happy when she does.

In my post about Lemony Snicket I mentioned that our "go to" dinner together is Crispy Squid with Lemony Snicket so, being a creature of habit, off I dutifully traipsed to purchase the necessary mountain of squid- but, to my horror, the shop had sold out! After a brief moment of panic, my eyes fell upon the bags of beautiful fresh mussels sitting on the ice, and then quickly took in the unbelievably low price (they weren't even on sale, mussels are just fabulously cheap!) and my decision was made. I had a few spring onions left from making the Hoisin Tart, and I always have coconut milk, green curry paste and fish sauce in the cupboard, so it was a pretty cheap and quick decision that these yummy little mussels would be the star of a Thai green curry.

Before we go any further, please don't be scared of cooking mussels. I know some people are (I confess I was the first time I cooked them) but really they come with a built in mechanism for checking they're ok to eat (how considerate of them, I say). Before you cook them, put them in a sink of cold water to clean them, take their beards off and remove any barnacles. The beards may take quite a strong tug as the mussels really don't want to let them go! At this point, if any of the mussels are still open give them a sharp tap with the back of a knife- if they don't close up in protest then it means they're dead (poor little mussels) and shouldn't be eaten. Only keep those that are as tightly closed as a Scotsman's wallet. But wait, that's not all- there's also a second clue to calm any nerves! If once you've finished cooking the mussels there are any that have remained shut then they should be discarded too.
So there you go- nothing to worry about, is there?  

Thai Green Mussels

1kg mussels, cleaned, tapped and debearded

800ml coconut milk
3 spring onions, finely chopped
3 tbspns green curry paste
1 tblspn light brown sugar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tblspn grated ginger
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tblspn olive oil
1 lime
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1) Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the curry paste, ginger, garlic, and spring onions and lightly fry for a few minutes, until the paste is heated through and starting to sizzle.

2) Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar and the juice of half the lime and stir gently, bringing it to a gentle simmer for a couple of minutes. Taste at this point and add any more of anything you think it might need. You won't need to use salt to season as you get this from the fish sauce (remember the mussels will add a little too, so err on the side of caution with the fish sauce).

3) Add the mussels to the pan, cover, and leave on a very gentle simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat but leave the pan covered for a further one minute.

4) Divide the mussels between two bowls and ladle the sauce over them. Scatter the red chilli over the top and serve with prawn crackers.

Serves 2.

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