As the year speeds along at a frightening rate, two things came to mind: next weekend the clocks go forward, stealing a precious hour in bed but giving us our beloved lighter evenings, and mussels season is coming to an end. Back in November I posted the recipe for Ollie’s moules marinière and spoke about the rule of only eating mussels when there is an ‘r’ in the month. Realising that this left me a mere six weeks or so to enjoy my favourite seafood, I popped along to the excellent Moxons in East Dulwich to pick up a bag of mussels for dinner. A bit of a bargain at £4.50 a kilo.
I seldom make moules marinière at home as my attempt is always far inferior to Ollie’s spectacular efforts, so am often looking for new ways of cooking mussels. The classic combination is, of course, white wine, creme fraiche and parsley, but what I had in the kitchen was a can of Brewdog Punk IPA, a can of coconut milk and a huge bag of curry leaves from SMBS Foods. These, along with some shallots, ginger, garlic and chilli would go into make a very different moules dish altogether.
The cooking method is more or less the same with the mussels steaming in the hot liquid for a few minutes until they open. The addition of a hefty amount of beer to the cooking broth cuts through the coconut milk and prevents it from having the sweet, cloying taste that some coconut based sauces have. Due to the Indian influences in this dish, I thought it only right to choose an IPA (India Pale Ale) for inclusion in the dish. Brewdog has been something of a religion in our family since, ahem, some shares were purchased, so their classic Punk IPA was the brew of choice. You can use another beer if you prefer – IPA gives a wonderful ‘hoppiness’ to the broth, but another pale ale, or even a good-quality lager, would work just as well.
To be eaten with loads of chips and bread, and more Punk IPA, obvs.
Mussels with Punk IPA, Curry Leaves and Coconut
- 1 tbsp vegtable oil
- 2 eschalion shallots, finely chopped
- Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 12 fresh curry leaves, sliced
- 2 dried green chillies (I used birds eye as we like the heat)
- Pinch salt
- 250ml Brewdog Punk IPA
- 400ml can coconut milk
- 1kg fresh mussels, cleaned and debearded
- Coriander, roughly chopped
Put a large cooking pot with a lid over a medium heat and pour in the oil. Gently sweat the shallots, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and chilli for around 5-10 minutes until the shallots are translucent. Be careful not to let them brown.
Turn the heat up to high and add the beer, letting it bubble up vigorously for a few minutes to cook off the alcohol. Turn down the heat and stir in the coconut milk, gently bringing it to a simmer.
Add the mussels to the pot, turn the heat up to high and put the lid firmly on. Cook the mussels for about five minutes, occasionally gently shaking the pan stir them, until they have fully opened.
Ladle into serving bowls and sprinkle with the chopped coriander. Be sure to discard any mussels that have not fully opened during cooking.
Adapted from a recipe by the Indian Culinary Centre.