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Thai Red Curry with Mussels

In Thailand, fresh chiles are typically ground to a potent paste with lemongrass, cilantro, kaffir lime leaves and spices, then blended with coconut milk for a slightly fruity flavor.

Plus: More Seafood Recipes and Tips

  • Servings: 6

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  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 3 pounds small mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Steamed rice, for serving
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
  • Diced lime sections, for garnish


  1. Heat the oil in the saucepan. Add the shallots and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until browned, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Pour in the mussel broth, stopping when you reach the grit, and simmer until slightly reduced and flavorful, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce and lime juice to the sauce and simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the mussels and simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes. Ladle the stew into a large bowl. Serve at once one the rice, passing the cilantro, scallions and lime sections at the table.


Thai red curry, unsweetened coconut milk and Thai fish sauce are available at Asian markets and many supermarkets.

Suggested Pairing

Pair with Kirin Lager from Japan.

Contributed By Published March 1997

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