12 Days of Christmas Recipes, Day Seven: Spicy Mussels in Coconut Curry Sauce

Mussels are readily available in most supermarkets. Even though they’re inexpensive, they make an elegant, but easy dish for holiday dinner parties. The sauce for this dish is delicious.Have all the ingredients ready before guests arrive. Cooking at the last minute is a breeze. Substitute parsley or even torn kale for the arugula as garnish.


4-1/2 pounds fresh mussels                                      2 kg

1 tablespoon canola oil                                              15 mL

1 Vidalia onion, chopped                                             1

4 ribs celery, finely chopped                                        4

1 tablespoon green curry paste                                  15 mL

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes                                    2 mL

3 plum tomatoes, finely chopped                                  3

1 can (398 mL) light coconut milk

½ cup white wine                                                        125 mL

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup freshly washed, chopped arugula                  125 mL

Rinse mussels in colander under cold running water. Remove any little beards poking out of the shells with a stiff brush or pull on them hard to remove. Make sure all mussels are tightly closed. If any are open, tap them firmly on the counter to close. If they do not close, discard them.

In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and cook gently until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in curry paste and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Slowly add coconut milk and wine, stirring. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often.

Add mussels. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, about 7 or 8 minutes until the mussels open. Discard any mussels that do not open.

Spoon mussels with sauce into small deep bowls if serving as a first course. Spoon into deep large bowls if serving as a main course.

Taste and adjust the seasoning according to taste. Stir in more red pepper flakes if a spicier kick is desired

Garnish with chopped arugula. Serve with a basket of hot crusty bread for dipping and a green salad for a complete and delicious meal.

Makes 6 first-course servings or 4 main- course servings.

– Bonnie Baker Cowan

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