April 21, 2013

yogurt and coconut curried mussels

Mussels

Back in Bombay we ate plenty of seafood, probably about two to three times a week. Fresh fish would be delivered right to our doorstep by a local fisherwoman with whom my mom would always bargain for a better deal. They would go back and forth with each other trying to get the most of the deal that was to be struck between them. I think this was also probably how I learned to haggle, though not as efficiently. I would excitedly watch the assortment of fresh fish, shrimp, and crabs that filled her large basket. On some days we would eat clams stewed in broth while on other days, pan-fried mackerel seasoned with a concoction of spices. Oceans away here in D.C. we are lucky enough to have a fresh seafood market and I really do need to take more advantage of this gem. It's nice to have a source where you can go and literally "fish through the fish" and pick out what you want for a good price.

Spring Blossoms
Onion and Forsythia

On our latest trip to the market, we picked up a fresh bag of mussels in addition to a bushel of freshly steamed crabs. It turned out we bought way too many crabs for three people. I was so excited to cook the mussels, that off they went into the stockpot as soon as we reached home. This is a Goan-based recipe that I use quite often based on my mother's original version that I've modified and changed a little along the way. It has all the goodness of a rich and flavorful Indian curry but much lighter.

My kitchen filled up with the aroma of the sautéing onions, ginger, and garlic while the spices blended in. The mussels simmered and cooked in vinegar and coconut milk and by the time the yogurt was folded in, there were some hungry faces at the table. But there was still had a second or two before we could dive into our bowls, the mussels needed a splash of fresh lime juice and a little cilantro to freshen up and brighten the flavors. Once the mussels were served and devoured and the broth all gone, I knew that another trip to the market might happily be in my future a little sooner than I had anticipated.

Bread and Limes
Mussels and Grated Ginger
Mussels in Yogurt Broth

steamed mussels in yogurt broth

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

2 1/2 lbs mussels
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium size red onion, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon ginger root, freshly grated
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cumin, ground
1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
1/2 teaspoon kosher sea-salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 can light coconut milk
1/2 cup white rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3-4 fresh/dried curry leaves
1/2 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
juice of 2 freshly squeezed limes
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1. Wash and scrub the mussels clean under cold water, remove any beards if present and keep the cleaned mussels on ice. 
2. 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 with constant stirring. 
3. Stir the coconut milk, vinegar, and curry leaves into the onion mixture.  Fold in the cleaned mussels and cover the stockpot with a lid. Bring the broth to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the flame to a gentle simmer.
4. Beat the yogurt in a small bowl and mix it along with the lime juice into the broth. Taste the broth and season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Discard any mussels that did not open during the cooking.
5. Garnish the mussels with the cilantro. Serve hot with warm toasted bread or plain rice. 

24 comments:

  1. Ahhh, I love spring! Here, nature's getting green and flowery, but it's cold and rainy...

    A wonderful dish!

    Cheer,

    Rosa

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    1. Thanks Rosa. Spring is here but the chilly weather is a bit stubborn and won't go away so easily.

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  2. beautiful pics and lovely narration Nik! And the dish sounds spectacular!

    Luv,
    Manju

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  3. I guess there's nothing that makes a day better than haggling for a great produce price ;)

    Yummy mussels!!

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  4. What a wonderful looking recipe! I envy you the time you spent/spend in India. The food is so fabulous.

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    1. Thank you Suzanne, you should visit sometime.

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    2. I was there overnight many years ago. I am so in love with the variety of Indian food from all the diffeent regions.

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  5. Gorgeous photo and I cannot wait to try this! It looks so delicious...although I've never done mussels at home, you may have convinced me to try it!

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    1. I hope you do, the fresh ones from the market in DC are pretty delicious.

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  6. I haven't cooked mussels at home in ages, and this recipe is a great excuse to try them again. Looks delicious!

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    1. When I visit we should cook some up!

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  7. There are some sushi restaurants where I'm from that have incredible mussels and it's always a treat to go there and enjoy them. I've never made mussels at home and would love to try it! Your curry and yogurt sounds delicious!

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    1. Thanks Julia. I love ordering mussels for brunch!

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  8. How wonderful that you have access to great local fishmarkets in your area! That's something we don't have in land-locked Nashville + we miss it. Your mussels sound SO good + so creative - delicious!

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    1. Thanks Amy! Perhaps the local Whole foods might have some?

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  9. I like the way you say Bombay ....am glad am not the only one...!! I miss that city !
    am a vegetarian who will occasionally taste meat...so can't say much about the recipe but as usual so well written and beautiful eye candy.

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    1. Haha, yeah, I still have that habit. Such a great food city.

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  10. the mussels I ordered at the beach recently are put to shaaaame...now THESE are mussels! I can just imagine how spiced and succulent the meat is here...cheers!!!!

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  11. Red onions really are beautiful. Stunning photos! And I LOVE coconut milk based seafood curries! I'm from Kerala and we also ate a lot of seafood growing up. This is just like some of the curries we made at home- yogurt, coconut milk for that creamy sweetness, spices and curry leaves. I often use vinegar as a souring agent if I don't have tamarind (kodampuli).

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    1. I use tamarind paste sometimes though the fresh tamarind I have found here is a little too sweet for me.

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  12. Red onions really are beautiful. Stunning photos! And I LOVE coconut milk based seafood curries! I'm from Kerala and we also ate a lot of seafood growing up. This is just like some of the curries we made at home- yogurt, coconut milk for that creamy sweetness, spices and curry leaves. I often use vinegar as a souring agent if I don't have tamarind (kodampuli).

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