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the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
Thai food certainly wasn’t a dinner table staple when I was growing up, but it’s become one of my very favorite cuisines to eat—and cook. I just love the aromatics and taste complexity in Thai-style cooking, as many of the dishes have a perfect balance of savory, sweet, sour and spicy flavors. Hungry to learn more about the region’s fare, I took some Thai culinary courses last year, which helped me gain the confidence to incorporate these bold, exotic flavors into my own recipes.
With just the right amount of heat, richness, acidity and spice, these easy-to-make mussels are a simple way to introduce Thai flavors into your kitchen. Plus, they are utterly delicious—you’ll want to sop up every last drop and then lick the bowl clean.
Spicy Coconut Curry Mussels (serves 2-4)
Note: The red curry paste, Sriracha sauce and fish sauce can usually be found in the ethnic aisle of grocery stores or in specialty Asian markets
Using a rough brush, scrub each mussel well under cold running water. Pry off any barnacles with the back of a knife and twist or cut off any beards—the hair-like tufts that may protrude from the shells. Discard any mussels that do not close up when tapped, or any with broken shells. Rinse again and keep cold until ready to use (within 2 hours of cleaning or else the mussels may die).
In a large pot, add the butter, garlic, wine, curry paste and coconut milk; bring to a boil over high heat. Stir, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the ginger and white pepper; turn the heat back to high. Add the mussels and cover the pot. Cook (gently stirring once throughout to ensure even cooking) until the mussels open, about 3-5 minutes. Mix in the Sriracha sauce and fish sauce; squeeze in the lime juice.
Remove the opened mussels immediately with a slotted spoon and arrange in wide soup bowls. Allow the cooking liquid to settle for a minute, so any sand or sediment to fall to the bottom. Carefully ladle the liquid over the mussels. Sprinkle with cilantro and jalapeno peppers (optional). Serve immediately with bread for sopping up the sauce—my favorite part! Enjoy.