One of Hawaii’s most beloved treats has hit the mainstream in a big way — get on the wagon and experience poke in all its glorious forms. From the classic to the vegan and even fruit-based, there’s a poke recipe for you, like this Thai mussel poke we can’t stop recommending to everyone. Join Hawaiian food writer and editor Martha Cheng on a poke journey you won’t forget.
These mussels are on vacation in Thailand. Usually when I think of mussels, I think of moules frites — the black-shelled kind in a steaming pot served with a big bowl of fries, perfect for cold Paris nights. But for summery days, there’s this light and zingy preparation, in which succulent mussels, removed from their shells, swim among vegetables in coconut milk and fish sauce. A word on handling: Before cooking, throw away any cracked mussels or open mussels that don’t close when lightly pressed. But you don’t necessarily need to toss the ones that don’t open during cooking. Research has shown that sometimes mussels are just stubborn. Pry them open — as long as they smell fine, eat ’em!
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 4 pounds mussels, scrubbed
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 fresh Thai chili, minced
- 1 medium Japanese or Persian cucumber, diced
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
For the poke
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the ginger and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about a minute.
Add ¼ cup of water and the mussels, and quickly cover the pot. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally, until all, or almost all, of the mussels are open, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the lid, remove the pot from the heat, and let the mussels cool in the pot.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce, and chili. Add the cucumber, tomatoes, and cilantro. Fold gently until evenly distributed.
Remove the mussels from their shells and add them to the sauce in the bowl. Toss to coat.
Serve immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to a day.