Creamy… coconutty… slightly drunken mussels from the sunny islands of the Caribbean… Caribbean Coconut Mussel Curry!
Even though I live here on Hutchinson Island in Florida, I always get dreamy eyed thinking of far away islands. Those of the Bahamas, which are so close to us, to the Dominican to Salvador to Jamaica and all the way to Trinidad and Tobago. Jason, my husband, and I would love to sail away someday in our sailboat. But for now, with our son, life is showing us some other beautiful side of life with parenthood, and sailing has gone to the back-burner.
But sailing, that’s how we met. All because of our sailboat, Eulipa, a 32 foot double-ender. My husband was looking for a sailing partner 7 years back and I was looking for something else to do besides escorting a bunch of tourists in foreign lands. The rest is history. Stories of our adventures on the water and life on Eulipia for 4 years will come some time later in some other blog post.
Anyways… as I was saying, the far away lands always haunt me. These beautiful little islands with their swaying coconut trees over azure blue waters seem to be calling me. And their foods… those rich ethnic flavors of culantro, scotch bonnet peppers, spicy jerks, all spice, thyme, silky smooth coconut milk, curry powder, garlic… sure cause this lady to swoon. All of those islands have their own spin, their own little quirks that differentiate the end result. I equally relish some Dominican chicken stew or Puerto Rican carne guisado or Jamican jerk or Caribbean curried goat. One by one I will unravel these secret sutras to you… how to make different types of sofritos or green seasonings or browned sugars… all these… if you happen to remain close by in my life…
Caribbean cuisine is a fusion of African, Creole, Cajon, Amerindian, European, Latin American, Indian, Middle Eastern and yes Chinese too. So I can say the word fusion literally, as traditions were brought from all corners of the world to create this unique style.
Today I am going to talk about their curries. I am a curry muncher, a big time curry muncher. I love, of course, the Indian curries that I grew up on. But all forms of curries, stews and soupy liquidy things are my comfort foods. It’s amazing how different they end up tasting… so so different… but hey no complaints here… bring me more!
In the case of Caribbean people, what I have observed is that they use curry powder. As an Indian, I didn’t even know that existed a few years back. I only discovered it once I started living in the States. It’s a pre-mixed blend of different spices. It comes in bottle and gives very specific flavors, good ones. People in India don’t use curry powder… period. But I sure am glad I discovered it. It has become my staple spice for Jamaican and Caribbean stews, and even Filipino curries. It’s good stuff, keep it in your pantry!
These sunny people love their hot peppers and spices, which give a good zing to their foods. But sometimes you mix in the soft silkiness of coconut milk and it transforms into the most out-of-this-world slurpy yumminess.
I seriously fell in love with this Caribbean Coconut Mussel Curry. It has a little beer or white wine depending on my mood, so they are kind of drunken mussels in a creamy coconutty base.
If you are using fresh mussels, make sure you wash and clean them thoroughly. Though sometimes I cheat and use frozen mussels packed in their own juices.
Be careful handling scotch bonnet peppers , as they are very hot! You can wear gloves if you like or wash your hands immediately after handling those little devils. Discard the seeds unless you really, really like extra spicy. If I don’t find those, I use any regular hot peppers, such as jalepenõs. Some folks don’t like cilantro, in that case use parsley instead.
And then some regular onions, tomatoes, lots of garlic and a little bit of ginger.
And finally, the thing that adds real character is a can of coconut milk. Now the magic starts happening! Then some beer or white wine, whatever you are drinking that particular day. My teetotaler friends… yes… you can absolutely go ahead and make it without a single drop of alcohol and can still get droolworthy results!
A dash of lemon juice in the end… yeah, you are getting there… almost there. Let it simmer for few, let those flavors gets concentrated and marry each other and soon you will have people peeking in your kitchen, drawn in by those aromas.
Finally, what you really need is a great loaf of bread to soak in all that fragrant curried silkiness. When that crusty loaf gets soaked… all you need to do is slurp slurp…!!
Caribbean Coconut Mussel Curry, on my Gypsy Plate… Enjoy!
Still craving curry? Try Alpana’s Chicken Masala!
Want more tasty ways to cook mussels? Take a look at my list of the 20 best Mussel Recipes.
Be sure to check out my collection of the best Caribbean Recipes for more tropical dishes!
- 2 lbs mussels
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp curry powder
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 12 oz beer
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 Tbsp cilantro
- 1 Tbsp parsely
- 2 green onions
- ¼ to 1/2 scotch bonnet pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Lemon, juiced
1. Wash mussels thorouly if fresh. If you are using packaged mussles, thaw according to directions and and retain the mussel juice, as it adds good flavors.
2. Chop onions, tomato, ginger, garlic and green onions. Remember to wear gloves when handling scotch bonnet peppers and wash your hands immediately. Discard the seeds and only use the flesh of scotch bonnet peppers.
3. Heat oil on medium heat and add onion, garlic and ginger. sauté for 3-4 minutes until the onion becomes a bit transluscent. Add the curry powder and turn down the heat and cook for 3 minutes to toast the curry, which will bring out the flavors of the spices from the curry blend.
4. Add the diced green onions and half of parsley. Turn up the heat and add the mussels. Give it a stir. Add tomatoes, finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers or green chilies, salt and black pepper. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
5. Stir in coconut milk and simmer for 2 minutes.
6. Add beer and bring it to a boil and cook for 4-5 minutes until the mussels open.
7. Finish it off with fresh lemon juice and garnish it with cilantro and parsley.
If you are a teetotaller, skip the beer.
For a fast cheat, use frozen mussels. We love those for a fast, yet fancy meal!
Try other seafoods as well. Sometimes we throw in some shrimp or scallops. Have you tried another combo? Please let us know!
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 728Total Fat 39gSaturated Fat 22gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 127mgSodium 1008mgCarbohydrates 32gFiber 3gSugar 3gProtein 58g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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