½-inch piece ginger root
4 cloves garlic
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1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
⅛-¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup water
2 pounds shell-on mussels
1-2 small yellow onions
1 small serrano chili pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup unsweetened flaked/dried coconut
Peel the ginger and coarsely chop; transfer to a mini food processor or blender. Coarsely chop the garlic, then add it to the ginger, along with the cumin, turmeric, salt (to taste) and 2 tablespoons of the water. Purée to form a paste.
Rinse the mussels and clean them as needed, discarding any stringy bits (beards) that might be attached. Do not use any mussels that have opened and will not close when tapped.
Cut the onions (to taste) into small dice.
Seed the serrano, if desired, then cut it crosswise into very thin slices.
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onions and stir to coat. Cook for about 8 minutes or until almost translucent, stirring occasionally. Pour in the ginger-garlic paste and the serrano pepper. Stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the coconut and the remaining water.
Increase the heat to medium-high; once the mixture starts to bubble, add the mussels. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low; cook 6-10 minutes. Uncover; discard any mussels that remain closed. Divide among individual bowls. Serve hot.
Nutrition values per serving: 310 calories, 21 g fat (12 g saturated), 18 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 14 g protein, 30 mg cholesterol, 420 mg sodium.
Adapted from "Indian by Cooking" by Madhur Jaffrey (Barron's, 1982)