Red Curry Mussels with Kimchi Puree from 'The Kimchi Cookbook'

Red Curry Mussels with Kimchi Puree from 'The Kimchi Cookbook'

[Photograph: Sara Remington]

Mussels are one of those easy dinners that can easily get overlooked when bombarded by quick-cooking fish fillets and chicken breasts at the market. But mussels are just as quick and easy (if not easier) to prepare than fish, and they're a year-round sustainable source of seafood.

Pop them in a pot of flavorful broth and they'll be done before you can set the table. Adding even more reason to pick up a couple of pounds of shellfish is the Red Curry Mussels with Kimchi from Lauryn Chun's new Kimchi Cookbook. Here, she swaps in kimchi for more traditional lemongrass in a coconut-red curry sauce. The kimchi brings funk, spice, and salinity to the broth, enhancing the creamy brininess of the mussels.

Why I picked this recipe: Coconut, kimchi, and mussels sounded like the perfect quick and easy dinner.

What worked: Just about everything here was spot on.

What didn't: I would have left the kimchi in slightly larger pieces so that it wouldn't get lost amongst the broth.

Suggested tweaks: You could probably use low-fat coconut milk here if you wanted to lighten things up. As written, I found it hard to slurp the down the whole bowl of broth after downing the mussels. I served the dish with crusty bread since I had it on hand, but this would be equally good ladled over a bowl of rice noodles (or rice for that matter).

Reprinted with permission from The Kimchi Cookbook: 60 Traditional and Modern Ways to Make and Eat Kimchi by Lauryn Chun, copyright 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

  • Yield:serves 4
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:30 minutes


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 cup finely chopped napa cabbage kimchi, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 pounds mussels, rinsed and scrubbed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, plus more to taste (about 3 limes)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (about 2 green onions) as garnish


  1. 1.

    In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add the curry paste and kimchi and cook, stirring, for another minute. Stir in the coconut milk and water and bring the mixture to a simmer.

  2. 2.

    Add the mussels and cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mussels open.

  3. 3.

    Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the lime juice. Top with the green onions and additional kimchi and serve in deep bowls.