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Bombay Mussels

April 8, 2014

There was for a brief time a restaurant on the Charlottetown waterfront called Flex Mussels. It featured open-air dining, consistently poor service and the most incredible assortment of mussel recipes you’ll ever find. Peking duck mussels was one. As best I recall they had 18 different mussel recipes.

It had actually started as a small kiosk with picnic tables in Summerside. Then it impressed some fancy investors from New York City. And now New York is the only place left you can enjoy Flex Mussels.

Back when the PEI restaurants were still going they had one of the chefs on the radio station where I work. He prepared the recipe they called “Bombay Mussels.” Some of us took notes.

I’ve come up with a lot of ways to prepare curry mussels, and they all end up tasting pretty similar. Because, you know, it’s me. This curry ends up with a completely different flavour, mostly because of the mango. The paste you choose will also have a big influence. I get my curry paste from one of the local Asian groceries. It comes in small, 4 oz. tins good for one or two recipes. The brand is called Maesri. They have red and green curry pastes, and a masaman curry paste that comes in a yellow tin. If you look at the list of ingredients, you’ll find the reds and greens have chilies listed as the first ingredient. Masaman has garlic up first. It’s considerably milder, which works better for our taste buds around here.

As always, I made a few adjustments of my own. And I’m guesstimating a bit more with these amounts, but it’s hard to go too far wrong with this. This is also a really easy recipe to prepare compared to some curries I’ll do. Only the mango purée requires a bit of extra effort.

Bombay Mussels 1

Bombay Mussels

about 3 lbs mussels, rinsed and debearded. Discard any broken ones or ones that won’t close when you run them under cold water or tap them on the counter.
about 1-1/2 tbsp peanut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped fine
1-2 sticks cinnamon
3-4 pods star anise
1-2 dried bay leaves
1 medium tomato, diced fine
about 3 oz curry paste (masaman, or another style if you prefer)
about 1/3 cup fish, vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 a mango, puréed
1/4 cup or so heavy cream
a handful of chopped, fresh cilantro
baguette for dipping

Bombay Mussels are done1. Prep the mussels. In a large sauté pan with a lid or a Dutch oven, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for one minute. Add the cinnamon, star anise, bay leaves and tomato and cook until most of the moisture is gone from the tomato, about five minutes. Turn up the heat to medium-high. Add the curry paste, stock, and mango. Stir until it’s well-combined, and warm until it’s beginning to steam. Add the mussels and cover, stirring occasionally until the mussels have all opened and the flesh pulls easily away from the shell, about 8 minutes.

2. Add the cream and stir. Remove from heat. Add the cilantro and serve. Make sure everyone gets some sauce for dipping.

Bombay Mussels 2

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