Mussels with Garam Masala Recipe

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped, reserving fronds
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (Indian spice mixture)
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2/3 cup well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 4 pounds cultivated mussels, scrubbed
  • 1 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
  • Accompaniment: naan or crusty bread
  1. Heat oil in an 8-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Cook onion, fennel, garlic, garam masala, red-pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until onion and fennel are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes with juice and coconut milk and bring just to a boil. Add mussels and cook over medium-high heat, covered, stirring occasionally, just until mussels open wide, 8 to 10 minutes. (Discard any that remain unopened after 10 minutes.)
  3. Chop about 2 tablespoons reserved fennel fronds and stir into mussels along with basil.