Curried Mussels in White Ale

"I first made these mussels for Thanksgiving two years ago," says Sang Yoon. "I don't make a traditional Thanksgiving dinner—I cook outside the box and call it Sangsgiving ABT (Anything But Turkey). The mussels were such a hit, I put them on the menu at Father's Office." Adding creamy white ale to the intense curry broth helps mellow the flavors.

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  • Servings: 4

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  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 large fresh lemongrass stalk, bottom two-thirds of the inner bulb only, smashed and chopped
  • 2/3 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • One 15-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, plus 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • Two 12-ounce bottles Belgian-style white ale
  • 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

How to make this recipe

  1. In a saucepan, heat the oil. Add the red curry paste, garlic, ginger and lemongrass and cook over moderate heat for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the mirin, coconut milk, soy sauce, fish sauce and basil leaves and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Strain the red curry sauce into a bowl.

  2. In a saucepan, bring the ale to a boil. Add the mussels, cover and cook over high heat, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to 4 bowls, discarding any that don't open. Add the red curry sauce to the ale and boil for 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the mussels, sprinkle with the chopped basil and cilantro and serve.

Suggested Pairing

For pairing, Yoon favors a beer with more malty depth, like the Russian River Brewing Company's Damnation ale.

Contributed By Photo © David Tsay Published June 2007

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