Mussels in Coconut Broth

Source: Micki Seibel, July 2014

Source: Micki Seibel, July 2014


  • 2 lbs mussels (assume 1 lb per person)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup sake
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
  • 1 garlic glove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped


  1. De-beard any mussels that contain them. Just pull hard on the beard and it usually comes right out.
  2. In a large pot, whisk together all ingredients (except for the mussels, of course) and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the mussels. Cover and let steam for 5 minutes.
  4. Discard any mussels that did not open. They were dead when they went into the pot, and you don’t want to serve them.
  5. Place mussels into a serving bowl, pour the coconut milk broth over them, and serve.

How Not to Screw It Up

  1. By steaming mussels, the heat forces the live mussel to open it’s shell to cool itself off. Then, wham, they get cooked. If the mussel never opened it means it was dead before it hit the pot. DO NOT force it open and eat it. This is one way people get sick from shellfish. You couldn’t tell it was dead before you steamed it, but you sure can now. Discard it.
  2. A great tip that I’ve learned to increase the number of live ones that meet my pot is to open the bag of mussels as soon as I get home from the store to let them breath. In fact, you can ask your fishmonger to leave air in the bag for the transport home. Give them breathing room, and definitely leave that bag open and in your refrigerator until you are ready to use them (which I STRONGLY recommend be the same day you bought them).
  3. It’s really more tasty and better looking to your guests  if you pull the beards off the mussels before you cook. These beards are how the mussels attach themselves to things and eating them is kind of like eating a brillow pad.
  4. When you purchase the sake, make sure to NOT buy unfiltered sake. Unfiltered sake is creamy in color. You want the clear stuff for cooking. However, unfiltered sake makes a great beverage to consume along with the mussels.

Related Recipes

Another great recipe using the green-lipped mussels is Mussels in White Wine Butter Sauce.

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