Thai Red Curry Mussels

One of the last meals I cooked with a friend pre-pandemic was linguini al vongole, and I think that’s the last time I had fresh shellfish. So when I saw mussels on Don’s site, I had to get them. They were plump and sweep and worked so well in a spicy, tangy curry broth (the lime and bird’s eye chili are not optional!) and served with sticky rice.


  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 2 small or 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp red curry paste (~1/2 a can of a Maesri 4 oz tin)
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, tough leaves removed and cut into ~3 inch pieces. Smash with something heavy to release fragrance 
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk (do not shake! You want the cream and milk to be separated. Aroy-D and Chaokoh brands preferred)
  • 1 tsp palm or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp fish sauce 
  • Handful of Makrut lime leaves
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Handful of cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 1-2 bird’s eye chili, sliced


  1. You’ll want to “crack” the coconut cream. In a pot/dutch oven over medium-high heat, add in 4 large spoonfuls of the coconut cream that’s at the top of the can (~1/4 cup). Stir frequently.
  2. Once you see the oil start to separate (~5 minutes), add in the shallots, garlic, and curry paste. Sauté until fragrant and shallots soften ~2-3 minutes (If you’re struggling to see it separate and you’re not using high quality coconut milk, add some coconut oil to help it out)
  3. Add rest of the coconut milk, lemongrass, Makrut lime leaves, sugar, and fish sauce. Crush lime leaves with your hand as you’re adding in to release fragrance. Add 1/4 cup water and close the lid and simmer on medium low for 10 minutes.
  4. Season with salt to taste and add mussels in and place the lid back on. Steam until they open up ~5-7 minutes, giving them a turn halfway.
  5. Top with cilantro, juice of one lime, and sliced birds eye chili. Serve with sticky rice.