5. Carefully add the mussels to the pot. Raise the heat to medium. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Shake the pot often so the mussels cook evenly. After 3 minutes, look for any opened mussels and transfer them to a large bowl. Watch the remaining mussels open and remove them as well. Discard any mussels that do not open.
6. Adjust the salt in the broth as needed.
7. Divide the mussels and place them in individual soup bowls. Ladle the broth over the mussels and top with a bit of fresh cilantro.
The most popular recipes for mussels steam them in a delicately seasoned broth of white wine, tomato, garlic and parsley. I wanted to create a recipe with a bit more spice and attitude so I incorporated flavors of Kerala where my husband was born. Since Kerala is on the southwestern coast of India, seafood, including mussels, are popular. The broth is made with spices, onion, garlic, tomato and green chiles as well as white wine and water. A generous pinch of saffron and a sprig of curry leaves are added to bring richness to the broth. The mussels are steamed in this broth where they absorb the flavor of Kerala.
Serve the Malabar Steamed Mussels in individual bowls and top them with a bit of chopped cilantro with a hot fresh naan or layered parotha on the side. Alternatively, serving the steamed mussels in a large bowl over a mound of steamed basmati rice ensures that all the vegetables and rich broth are eaten and enjoyed. This recipe can generously serve two as a main course or four as an appetizer.
1. Clean the mussels and remove any with broken shells.
2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the cumin and paprika. Fry for 30 seconds. Add the onion and fry until the onion starts to turn golden brown. Add the garlic and ginger, then fry for 2 more minutes.
3. Stir in the tomatoes and green chiles then raise the heat to medium. After 2 or 3 minutes, add the wine using it to deglaze the pot. Stir in the water and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce the heat to low. Add the ground spices, saffron and salt then let the liquid simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the curry leaves.
2 lbs mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
3 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 green chiles, stems and seeds removed,
slit in half
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup water
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp red chile powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground fennel seed
1/4 tsp saffron threads
10 curry leaves, optional
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped