Smita Chandra’s Malabar Mussels

  • Serves

    serves 2-4


Dishes from the south Indian state of Kerala, along the Malabar Coast, are heavily influenced by the area's abundant supply of seafood. In this Anglo-Indian recipe from cookbook author and cooking instructor Smita Chandra, mussels gathered from local waters are cooked with tomatoes in a richly spiced coconut broth. This recipe first appeared as part of the digital edition of our August/September 2014 special India issue.


  • 3 tbsp. canola oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 small green Thai chiles or 1 serrano, thinly sliced
  • 1 (2") piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. Malabar masala
  • 3 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 (14-oz.) can coconut milk
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 12 lb. mussels, debearded and scrubbed
  • 14 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • Cooked white rice, for serving (optional)
  • 12 small red onion, thinly sliced


Step 1

Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook garlic, chiles, ginger, and onion until golden, 4–6 minutes. Add masala and tomatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to break down, 5–7 minutes. Add coconut milk, salt, and 1⁄4 cup water; boil. Add mussels; cook covered, and occasionally shaking pan, until all mussels are opened, about 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro; serve with rice, if you like.

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