Goan Mussel Curry
Updated: Apr 6, 2022
"At sea [my men] live on wine and biscuit, of which you may observe we have more than enough. Tell your master that I never take presents from my enemies, and I will have nothing from him except Goa!"
Afonso de Albuquerque, Portuguese Governor of Goa (c. 1512)
Whether this is a genuinely authentic Goan dish is hard to say, but having visited Goa it is certainly my experience that it is the sort of dish one could easily encounter. In any case, it’s a very good, spicy alternative to Moules Marinières.
One of the handy tips about cooking Indian food is to be conservative with the turmeric. However, being based on one of Keith Floyd’s, from "Floyd's India", this recipe calls for that tip to be ignored, and with very pleasing results. Clams would also work well here, as would a mixture of mussels, clams and cockles.
Goan Mussel Curry
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
700g – 1kg mussels, cleaned
Sunflower or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2-3 tomatoes (ideally skinned and deseeded), finely chopped
2-4 green chillies, finely chopped
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
Juice of 1 lemon, or equivalent quantity of lime juice
1 garlic clove crushed to a paste
1 tsp ginger, finely grated
20 black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
Large handful of chopped fresh coriander
In a wok or saucepan large enough to hold the mussels heat some oil, then soften the chopped onion for a few minutes until just colouring. Add the ginger, garlic and chopped chill and fry gently for about a minute.
Next add the chopped tomatoes, give them a stir and add the turmeric and ground coriander and a little salt. Cook over a medium heat for around 10-20 minutes, stirring regularly, until the tomatoes have reached a thick consistency. A little water to help the tomatoes break down may be required.
Add the lemon juice and the crushed black peppercorns, cover the pan and increase the heat until the contents of the pan are generating some steam.
Now add the mussels, stir into the gravy and replace the lid. Cook over a medium-high heat, shaking the pan regularly, until the mussels have opened.
Finally, add the chopped fresh coriander, give the pan one more final stir, and serve.
"Floyd's India", Keith Floyd (2001), pp. 123: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Floyds-India-Keith-Floyd/dp/0004140885