Monday, 25 February 2008


The other night when Cardinal, Covvo and A Beer came over I cooked them all dinner. The dish you see above was for starters and here is the recipe. There are two reasons why I can recommend mussels as an option for dinner. 1] They are cheap - 3.99 a kilo and 2] They are super easy to cook.


1kg black mussels
1 tbs peanut [or whatever] oil
1 medium brown onion [150g of whatever onion you have] chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
10cm stick [20g] fresh lemon grass sliced thinly
1 small fresh red chilli sliced finely
1 cup [125ml] dry white wine [that is one of those little bottles at the supermarket]
2 tbs lime juice
2 tbs fish sauce
1/2 cup loosely packed thai basil leaves [get them in China Town for 1.60 a bunch]
1/2 cup coconut milk [125ml - a half sized can or tip all a 400ml can in like I did]
another small fresh red chilli sliced finely
2 green onions [spring onions or salad onions] sliced thinly

1] Throw the mussels into the sink to give them a shock so that they all close. When you buy them they will be alive and should open and close. Scrub mussels under cold water and remove beards [the hairy parts hanging out the closed shells.]

2] Ditch any mussels that have not closed at all after you have run cold water on them or have cracked shells. They are no good.

3] Heat the oil in a wok or big frypan [or whatever you have got - you need a lid for it big enough that is all.] Stir fry the brown onion, garlic, lemon grass and chopped chilli till it becomes soft and is fragrant. It is better to do this over a pretty low heat so the onion doesn't brown, but as it is known in the business 'sweats'.

4] Add wine, juice and sauce and bring to the boil [turn up the heat a bit!] Add the mussels and turn the heat down again. Simmer the mussels in the pan with the lid on until the mussels open. The majority of mussels should open after about 5-7 minutes.

5] While you are waiting for 5-7 minutes to pass, shred half the basil leaves with your fingers.

6] Add the shredded leaved and coconut milk to the pan and stirfry until heated through. Fish out any mussels that aren't open, throw them away - they are no good.

7] Serve the mussels into a bowl for each person. 1 kg is enough for 3 or four people as a starter or as a main dish enough for 2. Sprinkle with slicked chilli, green onion and remaining basil leaves.

Let me know how you get on!

xx Lektrogirl

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