Thai-Style Mussels with Lemongrass Recipe

Jan 30, 2013 4:03 pm

An Asian recipe for fresh, sustainable mussels

We're working our way through The Clean Plates Cookbook — recipes using fresh, healthy, sustainable-but-not-out-of-reach ingredients. This Thai-style preparation of mussels is easy to pull off and is perfect for 2 (if you get what we mean).

Mussels are more or less inherently sustainable, definitely a protein to become familiar with. You can find galangal, bird's eye and Thai chiles and Kaffir lime leaves at well-stocked Asian markets, but you can improvise with ginger, any chiles and a squeeze of lime juice in a pinch. Serve this dish with plenty of crusty bread for mopping up the intensely flavorful sauce. 

Thai-style mussels are a great date-night dish.
Thai-style mussels are a great date-night dish.
Servings: 2


1 lemon
2 large stalks lemongrass
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon galangal, finely chopped
1/2 green bird's eye or serrano chile, seeded and thinly sliced
1 kaffir lime leaf
fine sea salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil, such as grapeseed
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
2 tablespoons scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons shallot, minced
2 teaspoons Thai red chili, chopped
1 1/2 pounds sustainably-sourced mussels, de-bearded and scrubbed
2 cups thai basil leaves, thinly sliced
cilantro sprigs, to garnish
  1. Zest half of a lemon. Juice the lemon to yield 1 tablespoon of juice. Set the zest and juice aside.
  2. Remove the outer leaves from the lemongrass until you get to the softer, fleshier, pale yellow part. Trim 2 inches/5 cm from the base of the stalk, then thinly slice the remaining stalk about two-thirds of the way from the base to the tip, or until the stalk becomes woody and is no longer pale. Set the sliced lemongrass aside and discard the rest.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine coconut milk, galangal and bird’s eye chile and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the lemon zest, lemon juice, lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaf.
  4. Set aside for 30 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh strainer. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  5. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic, ginger, scallion and shallot to cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the red chile.
  6. Add the mussels and coconut milk mixture and sprinkle half of the basil, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook until the mussels have opened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Stir the mussels and transfer to plates or a platter. Sprinkle the remaining basil, garnish with cilantro sprigs, and serve.

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Level of Difficulty: 
Prep Time: 
30 minutes
Cooking Time: 
1 hour
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