Mussel, spinach and cauliflower curry with crispy mussels

Mussel, spinach and cauliflower curry with crispy mussels

British Seafood
David Loftus

My staff enjoy a good curry and this curry sauce, based on a recipe I picked up from a Goan chef, is the one I always make when it’s my turn to cook ‘staff tea’. Caramelising the onions and cooking out the curry paste gives the curry a unique taste.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg live mussels, cleaned, (see note)
1 cauliflower, divided into florets
100g spinach, trimmed and washed
50g plain flour, for coating
oil, for deep-frying
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
cornish sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Curry sauce

Quantity Ingredient
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
50g fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
20g tamarind paste
3 red chillies
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
light rapeseed oil, for cooking
2 onions, peeled and sliced
4 tomatoes, chopped
500ml water
400ml tinned coconut milk

Batter coating

Quantity Ingredient
50g plain flour
50g cornflour
200ml soda water


  1. First make the curry sauce. Put the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, tamarind paste, chillies and curry powder into a food processor and blend to a paste. Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add a drizzle of oil. When hot, add the onions and sweat for at least 5 minutes until well coloured and caramelised. Transfer to a plate. Clean the pan, place it back on a low heat and add a drizzle of oil. When hot, add the curry paste and sweat gently for 4 minutes, making sure it doesn’t catch on the pan. Add the caramelised onions along with the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Next add the water and coconut milk and leave the sauce to cook for 1 hour on a low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, place another pan (that has a tight-fitting lid) over a medium heat. When hot, add 20 mussels with a splash of water and put the lid on. Steam for 2 minutes or until opened and then remove them from the pan; discard any unopened mussels. Leave until cool enough to handle, then shell the mussels. Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. For the batter, mix the flour and cornflour together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Stir in enough soda water to give a smooth batter consistency. Chill until needed.
  4. Season the curry sauce with salt and pepper to taste. If it is too thick, add a little more water. Add the cauliflower to the sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Now add the remaining mussels in shells along with the spinach. Cover tightly and cook for 4 minutes until the mussels open; discard any that remain closed.
  5. While the curry is cooking, heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep-fryer or deep, heavy pan to 180°C. Pass the chilled shelled mussels through the flour to coat, patting off the excess. You’ll need to deep-fry them in 2 batches. One by one, dip them into the batter to coat and lower into the hot oil. Deep-fry for a minute or so until crispy. Remove and drain on kitchen paper and season them with a little salt.
  6. Add the chopped coriander to the curry and divide between 4 warmed bowls. Top each serving with 5 crispy mussels and serve at once.


  • Before cooking, check the mussels are in good condition and closed. Tap any open mussels sharply – they will close up if they’re alive, otherwise discard them. Similarly throw away any mussels that have cracked or damaged shells. Pull away the hairy ‘beard’, attached to one end of the mussel. Farmed mussels should only need a quick rinse to clean them without washing away flavour, but if mussels are sandy or dirty you’ll need to give them a more thorough wash or a quick soak in cold water.
British Seafood
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again