Mussels in Thai Curry Sauce

We recommend eating shellfish, for their nutritional content and lack of omega-6 fats.

At least in New England, mussels are inexpensive and readily available. We pay around $3 per pound and they are in local supermarkets year-round.

Mussels make a good appetizer or main dish. We usually make them with one of three sauces: (1) A soy sauce based Asian sauce; (2) Pacific Sweet and Sour sauce; or (3) a Thai curry sauce. Today, it’ll be the Thai curry sauce.

Preparing the sauce

Our main ingredients were onions, peppers, shiitake mushrooms, coconut milk, and Thai Kitchen red curry paste:

Prepare the sauce in a wok – this is important because we’ll want to toss the mussels in the sauce later, and you’ll need the rounded sides.

Soften the onions in a bit of oil – we used rendered beef tallow:

Add the peppers and mushrooms and cook them a bit:

Then add the coconut milk, curry paste, salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste:

Steaming the mussels

The key to cooking mussels is to steam them separately, flash-cooking them so they don’t overcook and become dry and tough, but cooking long enough to kill any bad bacteria.

While the sauce is cooking, start heating a few inches of water in a steamer pot. When the water is boiling and making steam, and the sauce is done, add the mussels to the steamer.

They’ll need two to five minutes to cook. You’ll know they’re done when the mussels open. You can hear them opening, or, if you have a glass lid to your steamer as we do, can watch them. Let the opened mussels steam briefly before removing the lid. When you open the lid the mussels should all be open:

Discard any mussels that failed to open. Immediately remove the steamer basket and let any liquid drain out.


There’s no further cooking once the mussels have been steamed; all you have to do is transfer the mussels to the wok with the sauce, and mix them.

Once you’ve transferred the mussels to the work, toss the mussels in the wok until the mussels and sauce are thoroughly mixed:

Transfer to a serving bowl, pouring any residual sauce over the mussels:


Leave a comment ?


  1. Simple yet looks delicious! makes me mouth water 🙂

  2. Love mussels (and live in Belgium where they are practically the national dish), but my husband had a very bad case of food poisoning from eating them. That put me off of them forever.

  3. Hi honeybee,

    Shellfish in general use Vibrio (including Vibrio cholerae, the cholera bacteria) as gut flora. Usually these species are benign in live shellfish, but after the shellfish die the bacteria evolve toward greater virulence.

    So mussels have to be fresh; cooked well enough to kill most of their gut flora; and eaten immediately before they can multiply.

    Also, people with disturbed guts need to be more cautious.

    If any symptoms do appear, take large doses of probiotics immediately.

    Best, Paul

  4. Paul:

    If I may make a suggestion: try Mae Ploy brand curry paste, which (to my palate) is far tastier than Thai Kitchen. Everyone to whom I’ve suggested it finds it delicious, and the market I buy mine from claims that it’s what the local Thai restaurants use!

    It’s available at most Asian markets, and on Amazon.


  5. I second J. stanton, if home-made not available, Mae ploy is the best premade.

  6. Thanks, JS and Sarah. I knew there would be something better and I’m glad you’ve helped us find it!

  7. Hey Paul, when making curries, have you tried to let the paste bloom in the fat?

  8. I love mussels. Will definitely try your recipe. 🙂

  9. Hi Paul,
    Maybe I missed your treatment of these, but I’m obsessed with winter squash (butternut, kabocha, delicata, acorn, sweet dumpling, etc.) and I was wondering whether they were a “safe starch” or a vegetable in your view. They seem pretty starchy to me, but they don’t carry the same calorie load as the “safe starch” foods you recommend. I would love to hear your thoughts on them, as during the fall I find myself consuming them frequently. Thanks!

  10. Hi Sarah,

    Shou-Ching says that sometimes she does and sometimes she doesn’t … not this time.

    Hi Rachel,

    Those are all great foods. They’re a bit more sugary than starchy, but have fewer calories than most fruits. Eat as much as you like of them. I wouldn’t bother counting calories.

  11. Ohh yummy! This looks great mussels are delicious!

  12. Looks good! Do you ever have the mussels in their own brine? I usually steam my mussels in a regular pan with a bit of wine, and when the mussels open they release their brine into the sauce; very delicious indeed.

  13. Hi Andrea,

    We do that with clams when making clam chowder. It is good!

  14. Paul,

    Your recipes are really inviting. May I recommend a book that I recently found out on a website I was browsing. I think it might add some accents to your already phenomenal recipes.


  15. Closed mussels are fine by the way!
    Throwing out the closed ones is like the Lipid Hypothesis of the mollusc world.

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