Think of mussels as the MVP of the fishmonger: they’re inexpensive, a cinch to prepare, and farmed in a manner that is actually beneficial to surrounding waterways.
Mussels have a laudable protein-to-fat-ratio and a wealth of iron, the antioxidant selenium, phosphorus, vitamin C, and vitamin B12—needed for proper nerve function and DNA synthesis.
You can find tamarind pulp at most Asian and Indian markets. Clams would work in this dish as well. Recipe can be halved.
4 Tbsp (60 mL) tamarind pulp
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 in (5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
5 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp (10 mL) mustard seeds
2 tsp (10 mL) cumin powder
2 tsp (10 mL) coriander powder
3 lbs (1.5 kg) farmed mussels
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp (2 mL) turmeric
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
Sea salt to taste
Place tamarind pulp in bowl and cover with 6 cups (1.5 L) boiling water. Let soak for 10 minutes.
In blender or food processor, mix together jalapeno, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes until smooth; set aside.
In small skillet, dry-toast mustard seeds until they pop. Add cumin and coriander; heat for about 1 minute, set aside.
Rinse mussels and toss any that are broken or do not shut when lightly tapped. In large pot, bring 8 cups (2 L) water to a boil; add mussels, cover and cook until they open up, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain mussels, toss any that stayed shut, and set others aside.
Return pot to heat and strain tamarind liquid through a sieve into pot. Mix in tomato mixture, toasted spices, cilantro, turmeric, and black pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Return mussels in shells to the soup.
Ladle soup into bowls and lightly season with sea salt.
Each serving contains: 359 calories; 42 g protein; 8 g total fat (2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 29 g carbohydrates; 3 g fibre; 1,120 mg sodium
source: "Great Catch!", alive #332, June 2010
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