Monday, June 7, 2010

Fragrant Mussels with Coconut Flakes

A friend saw my request for Indian recipes and directed me to the BBC's Indian Food Made Easy.  I had more coconut to use and mussels were on sale, so mussels with dry coconut was a no-brainer.

It was easy, as promised.  I made a half recipe, used quartered grape tomatoes, and didn't cook the mussels separately. Instead, I added 1 1/2 cups of water to the onion/spice/tomato mixture and threw in the mussels after it cooked down.

The recipe makes use of garam masala, an Indian spice blend generally containing ginger/cardamom/coriander/cumin/pepper/nutmeg/cinnamon that has quite a few recipe variations [like curry powder] and is usually added at the end of cooking because it's considered less robust than using the whole and/or freshly ground spices typical of the cuisine -- it's like using a shaker of "Italian seasoning," theoretically, Italian dishes should have varying amounts of basil/oregano/garlic/onion/lemon depending on the dish, but that shaker makes everything taste vaguely Italian in universal way. Garam masala varies widely depending on the producer and those made commercially tend to use more of the cheaper spices, but it's still a potent blend for my American palate and the resulting dish was delicious in a vaguely Western Indian (coconut/tomato/seafood/rice) sort of way.

We ate all the mussles and had a little brothy goodness left over.  I stirred in some leftover rice to soak it all up, and tonight we will have leftovers-fried-rice with Indian spices and mussel broth. I'm excited.


  1. As someone who can't stand mussels (but always loves the sauces they're cooked in) I really enjoyed seeing this recipe. I can definitely see substituting the mussels for chicken or lamb. Maybe even a thick, mild fish like mahi mahi.

  2. Next you're going to have to figure out idli for me!! I love those fermented lentil pillows of fluffy goodness, but haven't gotten a good one since I left Knoxville.

  3. Laura t.:
    Mahi mahi would be an excellent substitution... or salmon... or even a strong flavor like mackerel, if you were feeling adventurous.

    I'm not familiar with idli, but I just looked them up and I'm intrigued. I'll work on it.

  4. I tried it with salmon last night (before even reading your comment!) and it was delish!

  5. Excellent! Thanks for the update.