Spicy Thai Mussels, aka Thai them on!

I am a little ashamed to admit that I’ve turned into Martha Stewart–Manang Stewart to be more exact–in that I love planning theme parties.  Actually, I only really like planning one type of theme party and that is the luau.  Because of my love for everything Hawaiian– from the food to the aloha spirit and the beauty of the islands–the luau evokes all these things for me and my guests.  We go all out with lighted tiki torches and a menu of lomi lomi salmon and kalua pork, huli huli chicken and passion fruit mochi and POG juice to wash it down.  Once, I even made my own poke with fresh ahi tuna, limu and kukui nut procured from one of my all-time favorite markets Takahashi in San Mateo.


If I could dig up an imu in which to bury a whole pig wrapped in ti leaves the way kalua pork is traditionally made, I would.  Except Pru would have a problem with my doing that in our cemented backyard.

I’m planning to serve my spicy Thai mussels for a luau we’re having in August.  Yeah, yeah they’re not Hawaiian but they seafood braised in coconut milk so close enough.  This dish is so easy to make and will wow your guests with bold, spicy flavors from the Thai chiles and ginger.  They’ll also love sopping up the savory broth with a crusty baguette or over rice.  I tried using low fat coconut milk in this recipe but it didn’t come out as rich nor as flavorful as when I used the full fat variety.  So splurge on the extra calories, it will be worth it!

Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence’s Steamed Mussels with Coconut Milk and Thai Chiles


4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped2 Thai chiles, thickly sliced

One 1 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 cup cilantro leaves

Finely grated zest of 1 lime

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Two 13 1/2-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk

Juice of 2 limes


One 11- to 12-ounce bottle lager

5 pounds mussels, scrubbed

  1. In a food processor, combine the garlic, chiles, ginger, cilantro, lime zest and olive oil and process to a paste; transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in the coconut milk and lime juice and season with salt.
  2. In a large soup pot, bring the lager to a boil over high heat. Boil until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 7 minutes. Add the mussels, cover and cook, shaking the pot a few times, until the mussels just begin to open, about 4 minutes.
  3. Uncover the mussels and stir in the coconut milk mixture. Cover and cook, shaking the pot a few times, until all of the mussels open, about 8 minutes. Spoon the mussels and broth into bowls and serve.

The recipe can be prepared through Step 1 and refrigerated overnight.


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