Malabari Mussels Recipe

Malabari Mussels Recipe
Seafood is an important part of the Indian non-vegetarian diet, especially along the coastal regions. The lush and tropical state of Kerala is famous for its delicious seafood dishes. Located on the southwest Indian coast, Kerala's famous Malabar coastline provides an abundant harvest of fresh fish and shellfish.

The cuisine of Kerala is influenced by its wealth of aromatic spices and year round availability of fresh coconuts. My Malabari Mussels is a wonderful example of traditional Keralan cuisine at its finest; succulent fresh mussels gently simmered in a spicy coconut curry and served with fragrant rice is a simple yet wonderfully delicious meal.

Now I have made this recipe using mussels but feel free to make this dish with any meat, seafood, vegetables, paneer or tofu. Just note that cooking times will vary accordingly.

Many home cooks are often intimidated by the thought of cooking mussels, but I assure you – it’s very simple & much easier than you think. So don’t be shy, go ahead & give them a try ☺.

MALABARI MUSSELS (Kerala Style Mussels)


2 lbs live mussels
2-3 shallots, finely diced (or 1 small onion)
1½” piece of fresh ginger, peeled & finely minced
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
2 small green Thai chilies, to taste
2 tbsp desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
1 small tomatoes, finely diced
½ tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
3-4 dried red chilies
6-8 fresh curry leaves
pinch of asafetida (hing)
½ tsp turmeric (haldi)
salt & pepper, to taste
1 can of coconut milk (14 ounce size)
2 tbsp oil (or vegetable or canola)
juice of ½ lemon
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish


Thoroughly wash & scrub the mussels, discard any beards that remain attached to the shells. Also, discard any mussels that are open and fail to close shut when lightly tapped. I always soak the mussels for about 15-20 minutes in a large bowl filled with cool water & about 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour. This helps to get rid of any sand inside the shells. Drain well & set aside until needed.

In a large deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, carefully add the black mustard seeds & allow them to splatter. Then quickly add the cumin seeds, dried red chilies, curry leaves & asafetida. After 30 seconds or so, add the shallots. Stir fry until just lightly browned & then add the ginger, along with the garlic, green chilies & desiccated coconut. Stir fry for an additional 2-3 minutes & then add the turmeric, salt & pepper. Then add the chopped tomatoes & coconut milk, stir well to combine & bring to a gentle boil.

Now add the cleaned mussels, reduce the heat, cover & let steam for 6-8 minutes by which time all the mussels should have fully opened. If any mussels have failed to open, discard them. Lastly, add the lemon juice. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves and serve with fresh chapatis & fragrant Basmati rice.

 photo Malabari Mussels.jpg

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