( SERVES 4 )
Mussels are economical and readily available from fishmongers and supermarkets if you can’t harvest your own. They provide quick family meals or can be dressed up and served as posh nosh.
|2 tsp||Chilli paste|
|2 tsp||Ground turmeric|
|1 large||Onion, diced|
|1 Tbsp||Grated ginger|
|1 Tbsp||Lemon rind|
|1 Tbsp||Peanut oil|
|32||Mussels, in shells, washed and scrubbed|
|2½ cups||Fish stock|
|200 g||Mung bean sprouts|
|½ small||Telegraph cucumber|
|1 Tbsp||Peanut oil|
|2 cloves||Garlic, crushed|
|1 cup||Coconut cream|
|1 Tbsp||Fish sauce|
|1 Tbsp||Lemon juice|
- To make the laksa paste, place all the ingredients into a blender and process, until smooth.
- Place the mussels in a large steamer over a saucepan containing the stock. Cover and steam over medium heat, until the mussels are just open. Remove each mussel as it opens. Cool slightly then remove all but four from their shells. Discard the tongues in the mussels, if preferred.
- Halve the shelled mussels. Strain the cooking stock and reserve.
- Cook the noodles according to packet instructions. Trim the bean sprouts. Julienne the cucumber.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the laksa paste and garlic for about 1 minute. Add the reserved stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the coconut cream, fish sauce and lemon juice.
- To serve, place the noodles, bean sprouts, cucumber and mussels in four large bowls. Ladle the hot soup over the top. Garnish with lemon wedges and mint.
- Choose live mussels with tightly closed shells. However, if the shells are just slightly open they may still be alive. Give them a tap or hold under cold running water to see if they close. If they do, they are edible.
- Store mussels covered with a damp cloth. Place on a rack over a bowl in the refrigerator. Do not store in water or ice.
- Clean mussels in a bowl of cold water, scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush or pot scrub.
- Trim the ‘beards’ with scissors just before cooking. If the beards are pulled off, it shocks the mussel causing the tendons to tense and toughen.
- Cook mussels in a heavy saucepan or wok either in a little oil with herbs and spices or in a ¼ cup of water or wine. They will normally take about 5 minutes to open.
- Mussels that don't open after steaming should be discarded. However, if they open just a little they can still be eaten.