Fish/ Recipe

Thai Coconut Curry Steamed Mussels

There’s something epically satisfying about the early morning, isn’t there?

coconut curry steamed mussels Recipe -

Like, if I didn’t have a column due or clients needing website work done, or recipes to test, or laundry to throw on the floor, or poop to be pooped, I’d get up at 5am and do positively nothing at all until the rest of the world woke up.

Kitsilano Beach Dog Park - Vancouver BC -

My rental condo faces in, not out. Kind of like a good belly button. So behind me is a slightly dodgey alley way (pretty sure I’ve heard at least 2 cars get stolen back there in the middle of the night), an upscale fitness facility and lots of blue sky. Or at least, it’s blue sky right now. Give it about 10 minutes and it should be pissing down. This is Vancouver, after all. Right?

coconut curry steamed mussels Recipe -

Weather aside, the point being is that there isn’t a ton of foot, car or horse and buggy traffic outside my glorious balcony. Or my belly button. And by glorious, I mean a concrete slab, tucked up against the second floor of my building. But hey – there’s a half wilted pot of thyme and some old Christmas lights hiding in the corner with an axe.

After too many years without my very own outdoor space, I’ll take it.

coconut curry steamed mussels Recipe -

And since there isn’t a ton of foot, car or horse and buggy traffic outside my glorious balcony, I get to wake up in utter peace with only the caws of the seagulls to keep me company. And let’s be honest: living on the sea, seagulls are gonna happen.

Stanley Park from Kitsliano - Vancouver BC -

In fact, the sound of seagulls gets me right giddy.

Sure, they’re noisy, dirty, flying rats but I have fond memories of the incessant cries and screeching of seagulls. Uh… That sounds creepy. Not cries; friendly ca-caws. When I first moved to the West Coast from Alberta they’d gently rouse me from slumber as the sun rose in the sky and the scent of fresh ocean air greeted my face.

No really – my whole face! I believe it’s a universal truth that air can either hurt your face (remember my 2 years in Toronto?) or air can make your face feel alive. Between fresh Pacific Northwest air and clean drinking water, my face is quite happy thank you very much.

coconut curry steamed mussels Recipe -

So yes. The seagulls. The Vancouver. The peace and quiet. It’s all very hippie-dippy and West Coast, isn’t it? Now roll all that flowers-and-peace-signs-bull-crap into a sunny, early morning and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. And where you’ll find me.

Right. So the other morning, in a clawing need to get out of the house – despite the 6 degree (that’s Celsius people) temperature and glorious balcony at my disposal – I layered on a couple of hoodies, threw on my kicks and I plodded down to the beach.

You have to understand of course, the only other people around at this time in the morning are dog walkers and homeless people. Oh wait, we call them transients here on the coast. Free people. So I gathered amongst them as the sun climbed the Earth (or does the Earth climb the sun?), found a little spot in the very cold, very wet sand and plunked my ass down on the shore.

 And I waited.

Kits Beach - Vancouver BC -

What for? I’m not entirely sure. Some epiphany of clarity perhaps. Breath. Or maybe I just wanted to see what the fog would do. Well, it lifted. Slightly. This is Vancouver in January after all and without relentless fog, what kind of Winter would this be? I got a lot of deep, full breaths in my lungs. And while no life changing revelations came to me, a dinner plan did.

And hey – if I know what’s for dinner before 7am, I think it’s gonna be a good day.

High five for small victories. For finding the joy. And for coconut curry steamed mussels.

I first posted these on Instagram and you guys went so gaga for them, I decided to whip another batch together and give you the oh so simple recipe. All you really need are a few seasonal ingredients and some fish.

coconut curry steamed mussels Recipe -

A Note on Your Fish: Clams are pretty much always Ocean wise. Farmed mussels are typically a good choice when it comes to inhaling seafood – just make sure they’re “off-bottom culture” and not dredged from the seabed. If you have them in your area, the ones from Salt Spring Island are gloriously fleshy, delicious and locally raised. Look for shellfish that are kept in salt water (not fresh – that will kill them) and don’t smell like anything at all. When it comes to seafood, fresh is best. For a whole host of reasons.

Enjoy my friends. Enjoy the dish, enjoy the day, enjoy yourself. Ow ow!

Thai Coconut Curry Steamed Mussels




Yield 2 servings


  • 12 Fresh Cultured Mussels
  • 12 Fresh Cultured or Wild Caught Clams
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk
  • 1 Package of Yellow Curry Paste
  • 1 1/2 C Fish Stock (I bought mine from The Stock Market on Granville Island - any specialty market should carry a variation of it)
  • 2 Shallots, diced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 Bunch of Swiss Chard, cleaned & roughly chopped
  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, stem removed and broken into small florets
  • 1 Lime, for juice
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Saffron
  • Coarse Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Chuck the cauliflower onto a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and give 'er a good dose of salt and pepper. Mix to coat and arrange in a single layer on the pan. Place in hot oven and roast till golden and well coloured, shaking occasionally. This will take approx 25 - 35 minutes, depending on how big your florets are. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. As that roasts: Place a large pot over medium heat with a good glug of olive oil. When shimmering but not smoking, add the shallots and garlic. Cook until translucent and fragrant, approx. 3 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning. Toss in the chard and allow to cook until tender. Shouldn't take more than another 3 minutes or so. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add about 2 Tbsp of oil to the pan and squeeze in the curry paste. Stir until it starts to turn darker. Throw the shallot/garlic/chard mixture back in and top with coconut milk, fish stock and saffron. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add the mussels and clams, cover and allow to steam in there for about 4 to 5 minutes or until the shells are open. Discard any that haven't opened because it means they were dead long before you got 'em - don't want you eating any of those.
  5. Add the roasted cauliflower, stir well and serve with a big hunk of lime, lots of bread to sop up the sauce and a bowl to catch the shells as you discard them.



When it comes to mussels, you'll want to make sure you "de-beard" any that have seaweed stuck to them before you cook them. Simply grab the seaweed between two fingers and give it a good tug. It should dislodge fairly easily. Wipe off any excess sand from the clams too if it exists.To store uncooked mussels and clams, place in a tea towel over ice in the fridge until ready to cook them later that day; You want them to stay as cold as possible until they're ready to be prepared. Cooked mussels and clams can be eaten for up to 2 days.


How do you find joy in the small moments? How do you find peace and quiet? What do you love about where you live? What would you change? Have you breathed today? Tell me about your morning.

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  • debby
    January 14, 2015 at 9:09 PM

    If I ate Mussels, I’d want these just because of the photos, but your scenery photos are stunning! I think these are the best you’ve ever taken.

    • Kristy Gardner
      January 15, 2015 at 8:51 AM

      We will make a mussel eater out of you one day…. What if we ate them on the beach??

      PS. Thank you!!! I got up nice and early to go get em!

  • Becky
    January 15, 2015 at 5:52 AM

    Lovely scenery.
    My mornings are spent getting a most decidedly not morning person (almost!) teen out of bed, fed and out the door with a lunch in hand before I collapse in a chair with coffee to catch up on blogs and correspondence and figure out my day. That’s what they look like.
    Becky recently published…It starts with a walk….My Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      January 15, 2015 at 8:52 AM

      Thanks Becky 🙂

      That sounds like a fantastic morning! It’s so nice that you get to spend a bit of time with your kid before the day starts. So important. As is the coffee 😉

  • Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie)
    January 15, 2015 at 6:11 AM

    Love the comparison of your in-view to a belly button! I am grateful that my view is out and overlooks a magnificent body of water…Charleston Harbor. So I am blessed to see a sunrise most days…except for the ones where the sky is “pissing down.” I’m grateful the park across the street does not lend itself to an alley skulking…just a bunch of dogs barking as they play! The mussels look divine…one of my favorites..and the recipe looks wonderful!
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) recently published…Positive Thinking… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      January 15, 2015 at 8:53 AM

      That sounds phenomenal Jacqueline. Water, sunrises and dogs??? Just about perfect.

      PS. Sometimes I walk through the dog park nearby just so I can pet them 😉

  • France@ Restless Palate
    January 16, 2015 at 9:50 AM

    Mussels are one of my favorite foods. I like to make them when I’m alone because they’re so easy to make for one. I love the flavors in this recipe….and this post makes me miss Vancouver!
    France@ Restless Palate recently published…Stout Braised Beef Short Ribs and Parmesan RisottoMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      January 20, 2015 at 1:15 PM

      Oh France! Even when I’m not alone I make them for one – John refuses to eat them. We should have a mussel party next time you’re here. We’ll drink wine, we’ll laugh, we’ll eat a shit ton of mussels.

  • Sarah | (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean
    January 16, 2015 at 5:22 PM

    Oh wow does this ever make me miss my homeland :-). Beautiful photos. And those mussels look absolutely delectable!
    Sarah | (Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean recently published…One Pot Chicken Adobo with Coconut RiceMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      January 20, 2015 at 1:16 PM

      Aw Sarah! You’re always welcome to visit, my friend.

  • Jennifer Andrews
    January 16, 2015 at 5:55 PM

    Beautiful scenery photos and great recipe! I keep meaning to cook mussels at home. I bet living on the coast is a huge advantage when it comes to fresh seafood!
    Jennifer Andrews recently published…Hummus and carrot rye toastsMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      January 20, 2015 at 1:17 PM

      Totally is, Jennifer. Honestly, I didn’t eat seafood for the 2 years that I lived in Toronto because it creeped me out. There’s no ocean, how can there be shellfish?! haha.. But now that I’m back, I eat it at least 2X a week, if not more. Thank you so much for stopping by! xo!

  • Shareba @ In Search Of Yummy-ness
    January 16, 2015 at 10:09 PM

    That first photograph sold me on this recipe. I’m pinning it for later!
    Shareba @ In Search Of Yummy-ness recently published…How to Cook Chestnuts (Without an Open Fire)My Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      January 20, 2015 at 1:18 PM

      HA! Thank you Shareba. I actually had to scroll up to see what it was hahahaha… you’re the best!

  • jess meddows
    January 17, 2015 at 1:26 AM

    Before I left Australia I was a morning person. 5:30am was getting a bit late to hit the ocean before work, 6:00am and it would be like downtown Toronto along the coast line in Sydney! It’s definitely a spectacular time of day on the water, and there’s a serenity in the morning that the rest of the day/evening doesn’t have.

    And these photos are just beautiful. I love how well they go with your beautiful mussel dish. 🙂
    jess meddows recently published…Free Bird Cafe Chiang MaiMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      January 20, 2015 at 1:19 PM

      Aw thank you Jess! I totally agree – it’s like the water transforms through the day and while still beautiful, just doesn’t hold that pregnant oomph of possibilities that the AM does.

      PS. That is one early AM.

  • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets
    January 18, 2015 at 2:26 PM

    The mornings are my joy. That first cup of coffee, usually on the computer, or thoroughly inking out my daily to do list with a cat nestled in my lap, with the only sounds being utter silence or Oscar whining because he does that sometimes, until I give him some proper attention. That’s my joy.

    This dish looks amazing.

    • Kristy Gardner
      January 20, 2015 at 1:21 PM

      Aw little Oscar. I agree. No music. When J gets up he turns on the radio and it’s like, the most offensive thing to my ears. haha.. There’s something verbally assaulting about radio commercials. Anyhow, I get up extra early for that “me” time. I know you make so many lists – you should SEE the Day Designer I got for list making. It’ll blow your mind.

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