Allyson Gofton - Thai Mussels

Publish Date
Friday, 28 April 2017, 12:25PM
By Allyson Gofton


While there are many Thai curry pastes available to buy, preparing your own Thai curry pastes from scratch is like giving your nose a symphony in flavour. Once the spices begin to grind down, their volatile oils are released sending wafts of spice, sweet, fragrant, sour and herb flying. Adjust the temperature of the paste with the amount of chillies that you add. This is my favourite recipe, which I have adapted from a recipe given to me at a Thai cooking school.

Red Curry Paste

  • 8 dried red chillies
  • 1 lime (see Cook’s Tips)
  • 4-5 stems lemon grass (see Cook’s Tips)
  • 8 thin slices galangal (see Cook’s Tips)
  • 4 shallots, peeled
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tsp white peppercorns
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1- 1½ tblsp salt

Green Curry Paste

  • Substitute 8-10 long green deseeded chillies for the red ones.


Soak the dried chillies in warm water for 1 hour or until well softened, then strain. Cut the skin away from the lime and discard the pulp. Chop the lemon grass roughly. In a food processor put the chillies, lime skin, lemon grass, galangal, shallots, garlic, star anise, peppercorns, cumin, coriander, shrimp paste and salt. Process to form a smooth paste. Keep refrigerated in a covered container. (I find a lidded glass jar the best for keeping pastes.)

Cooks Tips

Chillies: use large dried red chillies (not small dried bird’s eye chillies). Roll the large dried red chillies between your hands to loosen the seeds on the inside. Shake these out. Should you like a scorching hot curry, omit this step. - Traditionally a kaffir lime is used. This very knobbly fruit has a distinctive flavour. While we can readily obtain the leaves now, the kaffir limes themselves are harder to obtain; New Zealand or imported limes will substitute. - Use only the white bulb end of the lemon grass stalks. The tops are too fibrous and can be used to make tea or flavour soups and curries. 

Thai Mussels


  • 6 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, crushed, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tblsp oil
  • 2 tblsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 32-36 mussels, well scrubbed
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • ¼ cup chopped coriander
  • 2 tblsp chopped mint
  • pepper to season


  1. Cook the shallots, garlic and ginger in oil until lightly browned. Add the Thai curry paste and cook 2 minutes.
  2. Add the water and bring to the boil.
  3. Remove the beards from the mussels and discard any that are open. Add to the saucepan, cover and boil for 4-5 minutes until all the mussels have opened. Discard any that have not opened.
  4. Add the coconut cream, coriander and mint. Season with pepper. Serve in deep bowls.
Find more delicious recipes by Allyson here.

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