Prep 15 mins
Cook 25 mins
Is it a chowder? Is it a saucy stew? I don't know, but it's really yummy! And it's a really quick dish to make. You could use ANY other seafood. Substitutions for the other ingredients are not recommended, except for the spices/curry: you might have to use what you have at hand. Recipe has been tried, tested and enjoyed many times in this house. Please note that although it's metric, I give the Imperial measures in brackets.
- 1 kg frozen mussels, on the half shell (2lbs plus)
- oil (for frying)
- 1 large onions or 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into small chunks
- 250 g butternut squash, chunks cut into small pieces (1/2 lb)
- 125 g bacon, chopped (1/4 lb)
- 20 ml malay curry powder (4 teaspoons)
- 10 ml biryani spice mix (the whole-spice mixture, also called breyani spices, 2 teaspoons)
- 400 g canned chopped tomatoes (14 oz.)
- 15 ml sugar (1 tblsp)
- 400 g coconut milk (14 oz)
- 30 ml oyster sauce (2 tblsp)
- 45 ml Thai fish sauce (3tbsp)
- grated lemon rind (optional)
- chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- ** Malay curry powder is very mild and aromatic, and not strong at all. So use an aromatic mix instead of any old curry powder, which will spoil the delicate tastes. I also use Five-Spice of Bengal, a wonderful mixture of whole cardamon, cumin, etc, but a similar breyani spice mix will do. The coconut milk always separates in the can, and I whisk it until smooth, in a bowl.
- Put a large tureen or bowl in a warming oven to warm up.
- Prepare the vegetables: if the butternut and potatoes are not cut into very small chunks, it will take too long to soften.
- Fresh mussels can be used, but will take more time to prepare. Pick over the mussels, as there are often broken bits of shell. Discard all empty shells as well. Rinse well and leave in a colander to drain.
- Heat a thin layer of oil in a LARGE pot, soup size -- easier to handle.
- Fry the onion, potato, butternut bits and chopped bacon over fairly high heat, stirring through often. It might catch, in which case add a little more oil or a little water.
- When the butternut and potato bits are tender, add the Malay curry powder and the spice. Stir and sauté for a few minutes to develop flavour. Don't burn.
- Turn heat lower and add the tomatoes. Add sugar and stir through.
- Add the coconut milk, oyster and fish sauces to the pot. Stir through to mix everything well.
- When the mixture simmers again, add the mussels all at once, and with a wooden spoon stir through until they are mixed with the sauce.
- Simmer just until mussels are cooked through -- 3 minutes for defrosted, 5 minutes for frozen.
- Pour this whole mess into the heated tureen. Serve, or cover and keep warm.
- Nice if sprinkled with finely chopped lemon rind and parsley. The dish usually does not need extra salt.
- Serve with plenty of unbuttered fresh bread or buns -- plus bowls to put the mussel shells in and some wet cloths for hands -- !
- Should serve 4 - 6, but as a main dish might only stretch to 3 people. Needs a fresh, chilled white wine!