19 April 2009

Thai Style Chilli Mussels

This is a different take on my usual tomato, basil with white wine sauce based chilli mussels. This Thai style broth is actually based on a recipe I use to make Thai coconut milk and chicken soup - Tom Ka Kai. The method of cooking and ingredients used does change a bit, and the chicken is substituted with the mussels.

Try to buy the small black mussels and not the big green lip mussels.

Thai Style Chilli Mussels

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 5 shallots (quartered)
  • 5cm piece fresh Galangal (thinly sliced)
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass (sliced diagonally)
  • 5 Kaffir lime leaves (torn in 1/2 down the spine)
  • 3 whole dried chillies
  • 1 fresh chilli (sliced diagonally)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3cm piece palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 kg mussels (scrubbed clean and debearded)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh Coriander (leaves - roughly chopped)
  • Juice from 1 kaffir lime


  1. In a large wok, heat up the peanut oil and add in shallots, galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Stirfry the spices around for a about a minute.
  2. Add in the chillies then the coconut milk. Turn up the heat on the wok and bring the broth to boil, then reduce the heat down to a slow simmer.
  3. Add in palm sugar and fish sauce.
  4. Add in the cleaned mussels, place a lid on the wok, and let the mussels 'steam' and cook in the coconut milk broth.
  5. Remove the lid as the mussels start to open. The mussels should cook in about 3 mins.
  6. Add in the coriander leaves and squeeze in a the juice from 1 lime.
  7. Stir the contents in the wok around and make sure everything combined and the sauce gets into the opened mussels.
  8. Taste the broth. Add fish sauce if its not salty enough, more sugar if its too sour and more lime juice if its not sour enough.
  9. Serve immediately with rice or with some warm bread to soak up the broth.


  • If you don't have any fresh limes, you can use 1 teaspoon of tamarind pulp (diluted with a bit of water) as a substitute.
  • Discard any unopened mussels.
  • Try not to overcook the mussels. 3 mins is all that is needed for the steaming process. Overcooked mussels tend to shrink and become chewy.

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