This was a dish that I thought was just amazing and delectable and delicious … and Martin completely balked at. Mostly because it had mussels. He doesn’t like most seafood (except fish and even then, it’s hit or miss), but I grew up on it and prefer it to most land-based offerings.
My friend and fellow food adventurer Amy recommended it to me and when I skimmed over the ingredients and realized I had most everything (except the mussels – that would have been amazing if I just ‘happened’ to have those on hand!), I was sold. Especially because the curry paste used was RED curry, my absolute favorite kind of Thai curry. Red curry beats any curry in my book – yellow curry, green curry, purple polka dotted curry … I should probably branch out and try other dishes when I go to Thai restaurants but I can’t because I just love red curry too much. Extra so if it has pineapple … mmm, pineapple red curry. It’s like heaven, in a bowl, asking me to eat it.
Side note: HAY A-MAY, remember how you were the first person to introduce me to Thai food? And the restaurant served this awful, terrible, too sticky-sweet pad thai and I almost swore then and there to never eat Thai again? But you convinced me to give it one more try? Thank you. For realz.
Okay, now that I’m done rhapsodizing about Thai food, I can return to the dish on hand: spicy Thai steamed mussels.
Check out my big guns … err, I mean, mussels. Ha ha!
So I did some reading on mussels and one site recommended that you cook mussels in a minimal amount of sauce / soup / broth. In fact, steaming is considered the best, because it allows the natural flavors of the mussels to really shine. Plus, as the mussels open while cooking, they will release liquid they had inside to help the cooking / steaming process. This went a long way into explaining why you basically had about a cup and a half of liquid to a whole lotta mussels. Luckily for Martin, I took Amy’s recommendation and only bought 2 lbs. worth, rather than the 5 the recipe calls for.
De-bearding the mussels (aka, ripping out the thing that they use to attach to rocks) was an issue for me. I was constantly scared they would open up on me during the de-bearding process (maybe to yell at me or scream in pain? Eek!) and so it wasn’t overall a pleasant experience. But the mussels had little-to-no beard and so it passed with mostly no issues.
Also, for some reason, I forgot limes (the other ingredient I didn’t have on hand), but substituted lemon juice because I was too lazy to go to the store again. As Amy pointed out, it was really only there to add a bright, citrusy note to the dish and so I felt that lemon juice was an acceptable substitution. As was not including the cilantro. Both Martin and I are not cilantro fans and we didn’t really miss it in this dish.
Amy described the soup that you make as a rather thin, watery soup and I was having none of that, mostly because I love love love thick hearty soups. So I diced up a potato into very small cubes and boiled them in the soup mixture until tender. After they were cooked, I pureed the soup with an immersion blender and it really did create this nice, thick chowder-like texture. I’m really glad Amy told me that the soup was thin, as I think the thicker soup really brought it up to the next level.
Served with a freshly tossed salad and lightly toasted bread to sop up the soup, this was the BEST.