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Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed

Easy week meal, quick, healthy and tasty shellfish in a velvety Thai red curry sauce. In the fridge, I had a container of 2 kg fresh mussels which I transferred into a big bowl to soak/rinse the mussels in water plus 2 tablespoons of salt. The mussels breathe, filtering water and expelling sand. I always take a few hours to soak and change water, by doing so the beard will come loose or a lot easier to remove and the sand sinks to the bottom. The changing of water in between soaks will prevent pouring accidentally sand into the cooking vessel.

Having prepared the main ingredient in advance I was contemplating between French style Moules Mariniere or Belgian style, although I have to admit at times I get confused in discussion regarding ingredients and distinction between the two. With or without cream, wine, herbs, flour etc. Recently I discovered a recipe where I noticed for the first time mentioning ‘Trappist bier’  in Moules à la bière recipe, mussels cooked with Belgian beer of course.

Alas, no beers but Pilsner (Lager) so skipped that for another night and since the weather changed, I opted for a bit of heat and spice instead. However, was missing a few ingredients, in that case you make do with what is available at hand. I had ran out of coconut cream and coconut milk, so I replaced that by  using coconut oil and a small packet of Alpro soya cream which was given as a sample. The alternative recipe is as shown with this post photo images, but for authenticity I will mention at the bottom how to cook using fresh herbs as lemon grass, coriander etc that would have complemented the Thai flavor and as decoration (chili too for heat and color).

Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed

Improvising with a few ingredients I came up with a bit of heat and spice making it flavorful and nice 🙂

ทานให้อร่อยนะ! Thān h̄ı̂ xr̀xy na (than hi aroy na) Enjoy your meal

Thai Red Curry, Palm Sugar, Coconut oil, Soy cream

Thai Red Curry pase, Palm Sugar, Coconut oil, Soy cream

Coconut cream or milk would be preferred for taste and flavor, but soy cream was a good alternative ingredient to thicken the sauce slightly (soy milk is not an option!). If you don’t have palm sugar, regular white sugar works fine. At the background you just can see the bottle of oyster sauce (works as substitute), which I didn’t use, what is missing in this image is Thai fish sauce.

Coconut oil and red curry paste stir fried

Heat coconut oil, add red curry paste and stir-fry quickly, to mix and release flavors

Red curry paste with leeks and soy cream

Add the leeks, soy cream and stir till it starts to boil.

Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed

Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed

Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed in a velvety sauce

Thai red curry mussels, stir-fried & steamed in a velvety sauce

For a change I flat out had no herbs in my kitchen (no ginger, no galangal, no lemongrass even shallots were finished) so I used finely sliced leek instead. If you do have the aforementioned ingredients than chop it up finely, heat the oil in the wok add the ingredients and when it releases aromas add the red curry paste. Give everything a good stir than add the coconut milk to bind it all together, while rinsing off the mussels in a sieve , let it drip off all the excess water, add them into the wok. Put the lid on and let it cook steam for approximately 7-8 minutes till all shells have opened while giving it two good shakes in between. When done open the lid and tadaa! Stir around the sauce so it coats all the mussels. Wholladuh goodness,Thai red curry mussels, stir-fry & steam ! If you happen to have coriander at hand, chop a handful and scatter on top add finely sliced red pepper for color and a bit of fresh heat.

Cooking with fresh herb ingredients only intensifies the flavors, but even with the minimum I had this time it still was a great dinner. Serve on a plate with plain Jasmine rice and enjoy your Thai infused mussels.

Blackbeans Jumble Recipe

Blackbeans Jumble, our Monday night one-pot dinner creation influenced by Creole Jambalaya. The origin of Jambalaya apparently derives from the Provencal which is spoken in the South of France, the word “jambalaia” refers to a mishmash or mix-up. Talking about fusion, diversity and cooking, you definitely will find it in Creole cooking, this cuisine is a living proof of all the descendants of early settlers.

Louisiana Creole cuisine is recognized as a unique style of cooking, which makes use of the “Holy Trinity” (in this case, chopped celery, bell peppers, and onions), but has a great variety of European, French, Caribbean, African, and American influences.

La Chinata smoked paprika powder and gumbo mix spice powder

La Chinata smoked paprika powder and gumbo mix spice powder

Pulses and legumes

I love one-pot dishes, mixing ingredients and blending of spices they are ideal to finish up whatever vegetable is leftover on my kitchen counter. Adding pulses and legumes to your diet is very healthy since beans are considered protein-rich super food. Beans are low-glycemic, high-fiber, high-protein and packed with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Not to mention very convenient to cook and to add to your weekly meal plan. Beans help you feel fuller for a longer period of time and as a bonus helps to lower your weight.

Double value for health and grocery shopping budget to buy dried beans instead of cans or jars, a bag of beans is very economic, because it triples in quantity. One dried cup yields 2½­- 3½­ cups soaked beans, enough to feed a family of 4-6 persons. Just soak a cup overnight (1-2 days max, refreshing water in between) to let them well double in size, transfer to a pressure cooker and depending the bean and quantity you only have to cook 7-10 min tops and the beans are ready to be used in dishes or as ingredient of a recipe. For an overview of beans with image and description click here.

Black eyed beans

Black eyed beans

Digestion aid

Not everyone has the same experience but it is a well known side effect of eating beans resulting in flatulence, because beans contain raffinose which is a starch that is poorly digested due to a lack of the enzyme galactosidase. In aid to reduce increased intestinal gas production, there are several ways to avoid bean flatulence;

  1. Pre-soak overnight up to 24 hour, rinse in between (48 hours max otherwise it will ferment instead!) is a must and cook them well, the beans must be entirely soft without any hard bits.
  2. Add a knife tip – pinch of baking soda to the soak water of dried beans before cooking, this will significantly decreases the content of the raffinose family of sugars.
  3. From our time in India, were lentils are staple food we learned from Indian cooking to add asfoetida aka ‘hing’ as a digestive aid, this little tub is on our spice rack among Indian spices. In many Indian recipes it includes turmeric and ginger both are digestives spices as well.
  4. Other spices are cloves, cinnamon, and garlic are potent in reducing gas.
  5. According to a Huffington Post article, adding a piece of seaweed (Kombu or Wakame) will make the beans more digestible. Seaweed is another well known power food and it adds an extra depth as part of flavoring the beans as well aid for digestion 

Chili con Carne is a well known recipe with kidney or brown beans, Blackbeans Jumble is made with blackeyed beans and this recipe has creole influences but was mainly inspired by leftover greens, the use of spices like smoked paprika powder and cumin makes it interesting. You can add peppers if you like the heat or leave them out, by omitting the meat it will become a full vegan dish.

Blackbeans as comfort food

Blackbeans as comfort food

Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry recipe

A request from TinYee for “What’s for dinner?”, how about a quick stir-fry tender chicken with broccoli florets flashing out of the wok onto a plate. Let’s not forget to write down the Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry recipe and post it please :-).

If you’re cooking for a family or friends this is a healthy and tasty dish to serve on the table. Chinese stir-frying and Asian cooking is all about setting up for flash cooking.

Chicken Broccoli stir-fry recipe is an easy budget-friendly dish and a crowd pleaser. All the ingredients can be easily substituted with other meat cuts and greens in season. Pork, lamb, beef (even fish, see note) with vegetables like cauliflower, green beans, Pak Soi or Chinese cabbage. Versatile and ideal to mix vegetables of what is left in the refrigerator and needs to be finished

 

Quick, easy and economic no leftovers of ingredients, whether you cook Chicken Broccoli easy stir-fry for 4 persons or make 4 meals ahead for your weekly meal plan. Start with the preparation, cutting up the ingredients in bite-size pieces. Season the thinly sliced meat quickly set aside. blanch the vegetables and quickly into an ice-bath. Have all other seasoning bottles and jars ready to grab and heat up the wok.

Cut up broccoli florets or other vegetables in equal bite-size pieces. Blanch the vegetables, short and quickly into an ice-bath. This will stop the cooking process. Have all other seasoning bottles and jars ready to grab and heat up the wok.

Chicken broccoli easy stir-fry recipe

Tip:

Check the fridge if other ingrediënts can be chopped into the dish too. This help clearing and finishing into a colourful and healthy cooked meal. When stir-frying always add the hardest/toughest ingredients first and soft ingredients last into the wok.

Another Chinese stir-fry recipe is Flat beans with ground pork and bean sauce or try seafood suggestion Thai Red Curry Mussels Recipe.

Cooking notes:

  • This recipe is suitable to adapt for Keto, Paleo and diabetes diet.
  • For soy sauce gluten free options:
    • soy sauce choose tamari sauce (wheat free) as the closest substitution
    • Bragg liquid amino (purist would say nay because it’s not made with a natural fermentation but chemical process instead)
    • Coconut amino (a healthy soy substitute, made from coconut sap. It has a salty, slightly sweet flavour and is rich and dark in colour)
    • fish sauce (made from fermented fish/seafood although it is different it tastes as good). If there are none dietary restriction I often use both in cooking.
    • home-cook experiment, make your own instead. Will follow up soon with a discovery post.
  • Cooking oil
    • Olive oil use light, extra virgin is too heavy and will carry an after taste.
    • Sesame oil is only used for flavouring at the end, not intended for stir-frying, it burns too quickly and becomes bitter.
    • Coconut oil is mostly used in Keto and Paleo cooking.
  • Chicken seasoning powder in principle should be gluten free or use a vegetable powder as substitute
  • For vegan diet:
    • use fresh tofu
    • dried compressed soy flavour tofu
    • Tempeh (fermented soybeans)
    • Okara, when I make fresh soy milk the leftover soybean pulp is called Okara. Very nutritious and versatile to make pancakes or burgers.
    • Quorn
    • You can also buy a large variety mock soy meat packages at Chinese supermarkets.
  • Instead of meat, you can also substitute with fish fillets too. Coat the pieces in corn flour and fry them first, take out, continue with the recipe and add when almost done.
  • Cornstarch is what I standard use, next tapioca starch and tapioca flour or arrowroot.
  • Mushroom sauce (vegetarian) and oyster sauce are both used as extra flavour seasonings or omit.