Special Diet

  • ½–1 large red chilli (to taste)
  • 2 shallots, quartered
  • 1 lemon grass stem
  • 2.5 cm (1 inch) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 400 ml (14 fl oz) can reduced-fat coconut milk
  • 4–5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 150 ml (¼ pint) fish stock
  • 2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce
  • 1.5 kg (3 lb) fresh mussels, soaked in cold water
  • small bunch of coriander, torn into pieces, to garnish

Halve the chilli and keep the seeds for extra heat, if liked. Put the chilli, shallots and lemon grass into a liquidizer goblet with the ginger and process together until finely chopped.

Heat the oil in large, deep saucepan, add the finely chopped ingredients and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring until softened. Add the coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, fish stock and fish sauce and cook for 3 minutes. Set aside until ready to finish.

Meanwhile, pick over the mussels and discard any that are opened or have cracked shells. Scrub with a small nailbrush, remove any barnacles and pull off the small, hairy beards. Put them in a bowl of clean water and leave until ready to cook.

Reheat the coconut milk mixture. Drain the mussels and add to the mixture. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes until the mussel shells have opened.

Spoon the mussels and the coconut sauce into bowls, discarding any mussels that have not opened. Garnish with the coriander.

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