My Thai green curry mussels recipe features plum mussels in a rich coconut broth flavored with fragrant lemongrass and makrut lime and subtle heat from green curry paste.
Whenever I find fresh mussels at the farmers market, I always buy them for mouclade, bouillabaisse, seafood chowder, or curried mussels. Mussels are simple to cook and can take on a lot of strong flavors. I’m excited to share the recipe for one of my favorite seafood dishes, Thai green curry mussels. The mussels take on the beautiful flavors of lemongrass and makrut lime and heat from green curry.
- Mussels: seek the freshest mussels from your fishmonger. Pick ones that small, black, and glistening and you’ll be rewarded with a sweet, tender, and briny taste.
- Green curry paste: green curry paste is made from green chiles, lemongrass, galangal, makrut lime zest, coriander root, garlic, shallots, dried spices, and shrimp paste. I buy premade green curry paste but feel free to make your own. Once in a when I happen to have all the ingredients, I’ll make a big batch using this green curry paste recipe from Serious Eats.
- Coconut cream: for this recipe use coconut cream, not coconut milk. The flavor you get from coconut cream is much richer. My favorite brands are Savoy and Aroy-d.
- Lemongrass: much of the lemongrass’s flavor is concentrated in its lower, cane-like stalks. Look for firm, pale-green stalks with fat, bulbous bottoms. Trim off the spiky tops and the bases and crush the stalks with the side of a knife to release their aromatic oils before chopping them up. You can also use a food processor to grind them.
- Makrut lime leaves: are used often in Southeast Asian cooking. They are one of the most aromatic herbs and a wonderful addition to many soups, curries, and desserts. We grow our own but you can find them in the fresh herb section at many Asian grocery stores. Look for fresh makrut lime leaves that are dark green, shiny, and without any browning or yellowing.
- Fish sauce: use a quality fish sauce. Some of my favorite brands are Three Crabs, Flying Lion Premium Fish Sauce, and Red Boat Fish Sauce.
How to Prepare the Mussels
As soon as you get home, rinse them in very cold water which makes their shells shut tightly. Discard any that are open, broken, or cracked. While you’re checking them, remove their beards by gently pulling and twisting at the same time. If you’re not ready to cook them, put the prepped mussels in a dry bowl covered with a damp towel and refrigerate. It’s best to use the mussels within 48 hours.
How to Cook the Mussels
To make the Thai green curry mussels, add oil to a pan over medium-high heat and the crushed lemongrass stalks and makrut lime leaves and let them cook for 2 minutes to release their oil. Add the shallot, garlic, and ginger and cook for another minute until they become fragrant. Stir in the coconut cream, green curry paste, fish sauce, and sugar then bring the mixture to a boil. Add the mussels and cover the pot. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the mussels are fully opened. Remove the pot from heat and discard any unopened mussels. Stir in the basil, taste the broth, and season with additional fish sauce or sugar to taste.
In less than 20 minutes, you get a steaming pot of Thai green curry mussels. The plum and sweet mussels taste wonderful against the rich coconut broth flavored with lemongrass and makrut lime and subtle heat from the green curry. I like adding Thai basil or Vietnamese coriander to the broth. If you want additional heat add a few slices of bird’s eye chili. To make a complete meal, serve it with toasted baguette to soak up all the juices or steamed Jasmine rice.
For more seafood inspiration, you might like these recipes: Vietnamese lemongrass coconut seafood soup, Mouclade French mussels in cream sauce and curry, steamed razor clams with ramps and white wine, or Vietnamese lemongrass beer steamed clams.
Thai Green Curry Mussels in Coconut Broth
- 1.5 pounds mussels, clean, scrubbed, and debearded
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 lemongrass stalks, spiky tops trimmed, crushed, and cut into 2 inch batons
- 5 makrut lime leaves, crushed
- 1-inch knob of ginger, smashed and roughly chopped
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 14-ounce can coconut cream (Savoy or Aroy-d)
- 1 tablespoon green curry paste
- 1.5 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped Thai basil leaves, and extra for serving
- hot Jasmine rice for serving
- fresh lime wedges for serving
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add crushed lemongrass and makrut lime leaves and let them cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add ginger, shallot, and garlic. Let them cook until fragrant, another minutes.
- Stir in coconut cream, curry paste, fish sauce, and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Add the mussels to the pot and lower heat to medium-high. Let them cook for 4-5 minutes until the mussels are fully opened. Discard any mussels that didn't open.
- Transfer the mussels to a large serving bowl. Add the chopped basil leaves to the broth. Season with additional fish sauce and sugar to taste.
- Pour the sauce over the mussels. Toss the mussels gently to coat them thoroughly with the sauce.
- Serve immediately with Jasmine rice or baguette and bird's eye chili, lime juice, and extra basil leaves.
- Mussels: seek the freshest mussels from your fishmonger. Pick ones that small, black, and glistening and you’ll be rewarded with a sweet, tender, and briny taste. As soon as you get home, rinse them in very cold water which makes their shells shut tightly. Discard any that are open, broken, or cracked. While you’re checking them, remove their beards by gently pulling and twisting at the same time. If you’re not ready to cook them, put the prepped mussels in a dry bowl covered with a damp towel and refrigerate. It’s best to use the mussels within 48 hours.