This week our Gutsy Cooks Club assignment included a dish from a cuisine that we love and often cook, Malaysian Mussels from Martha Stewart's website.
As comfortable and familiar as we are with these ingredients we actually weren't aware that they were Malaysian. But evidently Thai and Malaysian cuisine are quite similar. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise really given Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand all surround the same body of water, have the same climate and natural resources. Ironically, we had this meal after watching the movie The Impossible about the horrific 2004 Tsunami in the Indian Ocean in Thailand. Wow, the beauty of the country and the absolute chaos an event like this brings. An unbelievable movie.
And from that beautiful landscape come these fantastic flavors. What's not to love about coconut milk, curry paste, ginger, lime and cilantro. These fresh ingredients are the base of many Thai flavored dishes we love to make.
And they are the perfect surrounding flavors for mussels. Living in the Pacific Northwest mussels are readily available to us all year round and we often take the opportunity to enjoy. They are generally a quick Friday night go to meal for us to make. We usually do them very similarly to this recipe. Or sometimes with chorizo and white wine. And almost always with some good crusty bread to sop up all the extra flavor goodness.
Here's the thing about mussels you have to take the time to clean them well. They have these yucky beard things that have to be pulled off. We generally get them home and immediately get them into a cold water bath that we'll change 4-5 times. Then we scrub them with a vegetable brush. Finally, we pull the hairy beards from the shells. This time and effort makes all the difference in the world in being able to enjoy the meaty, briny mussel meat.
I added some jalapeño pepper for color and heat besides that we didn't get very "gutsy" with this recipe because these flavors make for a delicious dish. And I believe don't mess with what works too much.
We both wanted to eat our mussels differently. I wanted them served over a fragrant Jasmine rice. And G wanted them as we usually have them served with some good crusty bread.
Both ways were tasty but I wanted it to be more of meal and rice made it more of a entree in my mind.
We had our mussels with some fresh spring rolls and a crisp Sauvignon Blanc from the Columbia Valley.
Malaysian Mussels from Martha Stewart