In our South, fried chicken milk or water gravy over rice is sacred. Curried rice done so with coconut milk, lime, curry, and mussel juice is sublime. The brown rice used in this receipt is healthy, slightly thickens the broth while soaking up its delicate flavors, and adds a welcome textural layer. Double the recipe for your lingering hungry friends, especially the astute sharing their sauvignon blanc, cava, or IPAs that pair nicely with this beautiful dish.
5 pounds fresh mussels, scrubbed, de-bearded (any will do; Atlantic or Pacific black or blues easy to find)
2 tbsp sesame oil
5 tbsp garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, minced
1 red or orange sweet bell pepper, minced
Zest o f 2 limes
1 cup Missimati Bayou Bouquet Fragrant Brown Mississippi Basmati Rice
3 tbsp Thai red curry paste
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, cut in 2 inch sections, and smashed
1 tbsp coriander, fresh ground
½ tsp cumin, fresh ground
2 cups fish stock
4 tbsp fine fish sauce
2 15 ounce cans coconut milk
1½ cups water
Juice of 2 limes
¾ cups cilantro, chopped, divided
In large stockpot, heat sesame oil and add garlic, onion, lemon grass, and sweet bell pepper and sauté until onion translucent. Add curry paste, ground coriander, ground cumin, half of cilantro, and lime zest; blend well and sauté for about a minute. Add fish stock, fish sauce, coconut milk, and water and bring mixture to boil. Add brown rice, blend well, cover with tight fitting lid, reduce to simmer, and cook for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, sort through mussels to ensure they are void of beards, are clean, shells are intact, not cracked, and are closed. Set aside and relax.
Check rice for doneness. Should be cooked al dente—cooked through but slightly chewy. When so, remove and discard lemongrass and add the balance of cilantro and juice of 2 limes into the stockpot of broth and rice, stirring to mix well. Add the mussels, stir to submerge most, cover with lid, increase heat, and bring back to a rapid boil. When you hear a boil, reduce heat to medium and steam for about 7 minutes. Thereafter, check for open mussels to indicate doneness and discard those remaining closed. Use a large spoon to ladle into large bowls and immediately enjoy!