Hit up your local fishmonger for pot-ready mussels. These are really great for entertaining – they're fast to prep and look impressive on the table.
- 2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, roughly chopped
- 6 coriander roots, scrubbed, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 large Asian red eschalots, roughly chopped
- ½ tsp white peppercorns
- 2 cm piece turmeric (see Note), peeled, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 270 ml coconut cream
- 350 ml coconut water with pulp (see Note)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 kg pot-ready black mussels (see Note)
- lime wedges, steamed jasmine rice and roasted chopped peanuts, to serve
- 40 g (½ cup) fried Asian red eschalots (see Note), plus extra, to serve
- 1 cup coriander sprigs
- ½ cup mint leaves
- ¼ cup Thai basil
- 1 large red chilli, seeded, thinly sliced
- 75 g (1 cup) bean sprouts
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drink match 2012 Killerby Semillon, Margaret River, WA ($26)
To make herb salad, combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed.
Using a mortar and pestle, pound the lemongrass, coriander roots, garlic, eschalots, pepper, turmeric and ½ tsp salt to a paste. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat, add paste and cook for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Reduce heat to low and add coconut cream, coconut water with pulp and fish sauce. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes. Add mussels, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until shells open.
Divide mussels and broth among 4 bowls. Top with herb salad and serve with lime, rice, peanuts and extra fried eschalots.
• Fresh turmeric is available from greengrocers and Asian food shops. Beware of staining.
• Coconut water with pulp is available in cans from select supermarkets and Asian food shops.
• Pot-ready mussels are from fishmongers.
• Fried Asian red eschalots are available in jars from select supermarkets and Asian food shops.
Photography Derek Swalwell