Coconut and Saffron Mussels
- 1 teaspoon peanut oil
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 long red chilli, deseeded (if you want) and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 400ml (14 fl oz) coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons rice wine
- ¼ teaspoon saffron
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1kg (2 pounds) mussels
- finely chopped fresh chilli, to serve
- In a large pan, one for which you have a lid, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat. Cook the shallot, chilli and garlic until they soften and begin to take on some colour.
- Cut the lemongrass in half, lengthways, and chop into pieces. (If you don’t intend to strain the soup, make the pieces large enough to be easily retrieved.)
- Add the coconut milk, rice wine, lemongrass and saffron, stirring until it comes to a simmer. At this point, you can remove it from the heat and let it infuse for 30 minutes, then pass through a fine sieve or chinois; this isn’t essential, just the way I do it.
- When the soup is simmering, add the lime juice and fish sauce. Taste, balancing as necessary.
- Add the mussels, pop on the lid and let it simmer away for at least 6 minutes. Take a quick peek before removing from the heat: most, if not all, of the mussels should have opened. If not, just put the lid back on and give them a little more time.
- Transfer the mussels to serving bowls with a skimmer or large slotted spoon, pour over the soup and sprinkle with fresh chilli. Serve immediately.