Photo and Recipe Source: Epicurious.com
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon peeled, finely chopped fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (coarsely crushed in a mortar and pestle)
- 10–12 whole black peppercorns, coarsely crushed in a mortar and pestle
- 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 16 ounces canned crushed tomatoes or 2 cups peeled, diced fresh tomatoes
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and stems
- 2 pounds fresh mussels
- 1 tablespoon Tempered Oil
- For the Tempered Oil:
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 10–12 curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- In a 4-quart pot over medium heat, add the oil. Add the ginger, garlic, cumin, black peppercorns, asafoetida, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cilantro and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2 cups of water and cook for 8 minutes on a low heat. Add the mussels, cover and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the mussels are opened. Remove from the heat. Transfer the mussels and broth to a serving bowl and finish with the tempered oil.
- To make the Tempered Oil:
- In a small pan over medium heat, add oil. Add the curry leaves and mustard seeds; when the mustard seeds begin to pop, remove the oil from the flame, about 30 seconds. Drizzle the oil over the mussels and broth.
Mussels attach themselves to stable surfaces using thin, sticky, weedy membranes referred to as “beards,” which must be removed before cooking. Most farm-raised mussels purchased in grocery stores have already been debearded. If the beard is still attached, grasp it with your fingers and pull it downward toward the hinged end of the shell. Pull firmly until it comes out and discard it. Place mussels in a colander in the sink, and run cold water over them to get rid of any visible dirt or grit on the outer shells. Using a vegetable brush, scrub each shell under running water. Overlooked grit can ruin a dish.