Curry often times sounds a bit intimidating to prepare, as most often it requires some specific ingredients that arenâ€™t regularly stocked onto your supermarket shelves. And although many grocers try to maintain their inventory stocks, there are days when you need to make that extra trip somewhere to complete your curry shopping list.
I often feel daunted with the thought of messing around with delicate ingredients such as coconut milk, and curry paste as a combination of these ingredients need to turn up results with the proper balance of flavour ,texture and appearance. The pre-packed Thai red curry paste and canned coconut milk makes life easier for those who donâ€™t live in Asia. As for me, fresh coconut milk only takes a 5 minute walk out to the main road where our local neighbourhood vegetable stall carries a wide variety of stuff, and yes even whole coconuts that are cracked and grated while you wait. Unfortunately, I have to grab a trike to the supermarket to get the Thai red curry paste as it is also imported from Thailand. I wonder why we canâ€™t locally produce and manufacture red curry paste being an Asian country as well.
Thai red curry has always been a favourite for me, especially with prawns, crab or mussels. The velvety smooth texture of the red orangey curry sauce alone is enough to make me eat 2 cups of rice. What exactly goes into that packet that makes such an exotic flavourful dish? Basically, red curry paste is a moist blend of red chilli peppers, shallots, garlic, lemon grass, coriander roots, peppercorns, salt, shrimp paste, kaffir lime leaf and galangal. Pretty potent stuff, eh? No wonder it can make you sweat in your socks and pants. Have no fear; you can do this recipe below. And I bet youâ€™d find yourself digging madly into this bowl of Mussels cooked in Thai Red Curry Iâ€™ve managed to make myself just the other day.
MUSSELS IN THAI RED CURRY
2 teaspoons peanut oil, or canola oil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of minced ginger or 2 stalks lemon grass
2 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens separated
Zest and juice of 1 lime
3 teaspoons Thai red curry paste,
1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
1 plump tomato chopped
chopped fresh cilantro
1. Heat oil in a large skillet and sautÃ© garlic, scallion whites, and ginger. Then add the curry paste; cook for about 2 minutes or until paste starts to sizzle. Add the lime zest an juice, coconut milk, brown sugar and fish sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
2. Drop the mussels into the skillet and simmer covered for about 6 minutes. When done, discard any mussels that have not opened. Serve with chopped cilantro, tomatoes and scallion greens. This is great with bread or over rice.
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Photo Credit: Kristi Sauer