Mussels with Dry Coconut

  • Recipe courtesy of Anjum Anand
Total Time:
35 min
20 min
Inactive Prep:
15 min
6 servings


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped into large cubes
  • 2 to 4 green chiles, whole
  • Thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled, and pounded into a paste in a mortar and pestle
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pounded into a paste in a mortar and pestle
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
  • 2 ounces desiccated or unsweetened finely chopped flaked coconut
  • Handful fresh cilantro leaves and stalks, chopped
  • Serving suggestion: serve with basmati rice.


Heat the vegetable oil in a medium nonstick pan and fry the onion until golden brown. Add the tomatoes, chiles, ginger paste, garlic paste, garam masala, turmeric, and salt, to taste, and cook until the tomatoes have softened and start to break down.

Meanwhile, cook the mussels in a large pot of boiling water for about 3 minutes, or until they have opened. Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Reserve the cooking water.

Add the coconut, cilantro, and a splash of the cooking water to the spices and tomatoes, and stir. The spice mixture should be thick enough to coat the mussels and enter the shells.

Remove some of the mussels from their shells and leave others in their shells, for a dramatic and appetizing effect. Add the mussels to the spice mixture and stir thoroughly. Serve with basmati rice.


This coastal dish from the South-western state of Maharashtra is quick and easy to make.