Coconut milk is not a common ingredient in our parts, but somehow it has always fascinated me. It has this exotic Caribbean ring to it, that has me dreaming of all those Hawaiian recipes that look so good on TV. My cravings for seafood, well…I think we’ve gotten used to those, and it has been a while now since we have last had some mussels on our table. So…I wanted to try this for a long time now…mix together the outlandish taste of coconut milk, with the briny aroma of these gorgeous mussels I got my eye on while we were out shopping, and…well…I finally did it: my own coconut bathed mussels recipe. So let’s get to it then. I promise it won’t take long…no longer than the commercials in between you favourite HBO series.
The thing with mussels…it only takes up to a minute to steam them. However, do make sure that their shells are well scrubbed and cleaned before you go about steaming or boiling them. Cleaning the mussels is just about the hardest part of this recipe. Steaming the mussels…well, you just have to toss them into a pot of hot water, and wait until they open up…and that doesn’t take longer than saying: “Pop”.
Having that there’s but two main ingredients that go into this recipe – mussels and coconut milk – the thing you just have to improvise on are: spices. So I spiced up my coconut milk with some salt, pepper, chipotle, oregano, basil, chilli, lemon jest,and lots of parsley. I was missing some lemon grass. I have read that goes well with coconut milk too. It’s subtle citrus flavour may take the sweetness of the coconut milk down a notch. Guess, I just have to try that out next time.
The next thing to do is heat a large wok onto the stove – that’s just about the only kitchenware that would fit all those mussels – add the coconut milk in, with the spices and stir to a boil. Let all those flavour blend in, until you add the mussels. Previously steamed, add the mussels into the wok and stir. Get that coconut milk all over and into those mussels. Let everything cook for 5 to 10 minutes. What I also did, was bring some rice to a boil, which actually made for a nice side dish.
So…my end thoughts on this recipe…coconut milk and mussels is just about the most interesting mix of flavours. Spices make the difference. The sweetness and exotic consistency of coconut milk are pretty particular in a European cookbook. Nevertheless… it’s worth enquiring into. So, I say, give it a go! Share your exotic cuisine adventures with the world!