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Coconut Sweet Chili Mussels

Lauren Collins

Fall is the season for rich sauces made for crusty bread to sop it all up, which is right up my alley.

This creamy, tangy and very flavorful sauce is made with a few simple ingredients, some of which you might already have, and even better, it takes about 20 minutes.

Earlier this summer I had attempted a few sauces for mussel recipes which turned into a total failure - either they tasted great but looked awful in photos or just simply did not work.  This time around, after taking a mental break from mussels altogether, we have a winner!


     Gathering vs Purchasing Mussels

Gathering wild mussels is a great activity that everyone can participate in.  They take a bit more work to scrub and clean before cooking, but in my opinion you end up with larger, meatier mussels than store bought ones.

Most towns on Cape Cod will require you to have a shellfish license, which you can purchase online or at town hall, but these rules are regulated by town.  Click here for more information with links to towns on Cape Cod that offer licenses.

There is of course nothing wrong with purchasing mussels from the store either!  Ideally you want to try and purchase any kind of shellfish or fish from a local fish market and not a big grocery store, but either is of course fine.  

Rope-grown, "farmed" mussels are generally what you'll find, either sold in mesh bags or loose on ice.  These mussels grow on ropes that are attached to poles in the water.  Wild mussels spend their entire lives on the ocean floor or stuck to rock beds, so they tend to be full of sand.  Rope-grown mussels never touch the ocean floor, leaving them free of most all debris and make preparation much easier.  

When purchasing mussels, make sure they are fresh.  Good mussels should be kept on ice and wet, with a salty, ocean smell to them.  If they smell like anything other than the ocean, take a pass.  You also want to choose mussels that are sealed shut.  

Whether you're picking your own mussels or purchasing them, be sure to keep them stored in a container that is vented (i.e. not a closed tupperware or ziplock bag).  Mussels need to breathe!  You can store them in the fridge for up to 48 hours before cooking.  

Coconut Sweet Chili Mussels

Cooking mussels is incredibly easy and takes very little time.  It's all about the sauce when it comes to mussels, and this one is no less than incredibly delicious.

I love to use coconut milk as a base for Thai and curry recipes, because those flavors tend to be quite spicy, and so the coconut milk helps to balance it all out.

With just seven ingredients, this sauce comes together beautifully, and is delicious with bread afterwards.  Ryan even wanted to save it to put over pasta, but I convinced him Thai flavors and Italian pasta probably aren't the best mix!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and please let me know what you think if you try it!

You can click here to print the Coconut Sweet Chili Mussels recipe.

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

  1. Hi Lauren – This sounds yummy.

    Another quick note about harvesting muscles. There are two types of muscles here on the cape, maybe more. I noticed your pictures are of smooth muscles. Those are the best and may be the only ones we are allowed to harvest with a license.. The other type are ribbed muscles, they are quite plentiful, but are not supposed to be harvested. My understanding from the natural resources department in Barnstable, is that ribbed muscles (Google keeps trying to suggest ripped muscles, similarly to Stripper vs. Striper) do not flush toxins as quickly as smooth muscles. It might be worth checking with the town about that before harvesting.

    I use an old onion bag, or any mesh bag and platter to store shellfish in the fridge, I’ll also cover it with a damp dishcloth.

    Oyster season opens today in Barnstable.

    Keep ’em coming, I loved the Mediterranean inspired bluefish recipe.

    1. Thanks for sharing that about the ripped muscles Jane, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the Mediterranean bluefish recipe!


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