Mussels with dry coconut

Mussels with dry coconut

Indian Food Made Easy
Vanessa Courtier

This coastal dish from the south-western state of Maharashtra is quick and easy to make and really delicious. I always consider mussels a summery ingredient, but only because I always ate them under the sun, by the sea and on holiday. The flavours of this recipe are well rounded – the tartness from the tomatoes contrasts wonderfully with the sweetness provided by the coconut and mussels, while the various spices add a good background flavour. I serve this dish with some of the mussels in their shells and others taken out and stirred in to the curry, making an appetising and dramatic plate. The masala should be thick enough to coat the mussels and get into any shells.


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2-4 green chillies, left whole
15g garlic, peeled and made into a paste
10g fresh ginger, peeled and made into a paste
salt, to taste
3 tomatoes, chopped into large dice
1kg mussels, scrubbed under water and de-bearded; discard any that are already open
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
70g desiccated coconut
handful fresh coriander leaves and stalks, chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a medium non-stick pan and fry the onion until golden brown. Add the chillies, garlic and ginger pastes, salt and stir well for 20 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 8 minutes, until they have softened and start to break down.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the mussels in a large pot of boiling water until they have opened, around 3 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reserve the water. Discard any mussels that have not opened.
  3. Add the turmeric, garam masala and coconut to the onion mixture and mix well. Then stir in the cooked mussels – some on and some off their shell works best. Add a good splash of the cooking water and stir through. Stir in the coriander and serve with chapatti, naan or even a hunk of bread.
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