2000s Recipes + Menus

Mussels with Garam Masala

  • Active time:20 min
  • Start to finish:45 min
November 2008
With the coconut milk left over from our Sweet-Potato Coconut Purée, try this very modern spin on steamed mussels. Fennel and tomatoes are common pairings with mussels, but garam masala is the wild card here, contributing an unexpected depth of curry flavor to the coconut-milk broth and tender mussels.
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped, reserving fronds
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (Indian spice mixture)
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
  • 1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2/3 cup well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 4 lb cultivated mussels, scrubbed
  • 1 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
  • Accompaniment:

    naan or crusty bread
  • Heat oil in an 8-qt heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Cook onion, fennel, garlic, garam masala, red-pepper flakes, and 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until onion and fennel are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes with juice and coconut milk and bring just to a boil. Add mussels and cook over medium-high heat, covered, stirring occasionally, just until mussels open wide, 8 to 10 minutes. (Discard any that remain unopened after 10 minutes.)
  • Chop about 2 Tbsp reserved fennel fronds and stir into mussels along with basil.
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