Food writer Nik Sharma's recipe for Turmeric and Lime Mussel Broth
Food writer Nik Sharma, curator of the award-winning food blog A Brown Table, shares 100 delicious and intriguing Indian recipes with an American twist in his debut book, which Nigella Lawson has praised as “inspiring and infused with an enlivening and generous sensibility”.
Turmeric and Lime Mussel Broth
In this broth, the fresh turmeric root adds a beautiful golden colour while the fresh ginger adds spiciness and texture. Both of them possess starch, which helps thicken the broth as it is heated. To maximise the impact of the aromatic ingredients, I heat them in a flavourful fat, such as ghee or the Ethiopian spiced butter nit'r qibe. The coconut milk and mussels absorb these flavours as they cook. The addition of lime leaves and juice brightens the broth and counterbalances the heat.
1 tbsp ghee (see recipe, above) or my nit'r qibe (see recipe, below)
135g minced shallots
1 tsp garam masala
One 5cm piece fresh turmeric root, peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 makrut lime leaves, preferably fresh
1 whole Kashmiri chile
1 tbsp tomato paste
One 5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 tsp kosher salt
One 400ml can coconut milk
60ml fresh lime juice
2 tbsp thinly sliced scallion (white and green parts)
Rinse the mussels under cold running water, scrubbing well to remove any grit. Keep on ice in the refrigerator while building the broth.
In a heavy medium stockpot, heat the ghee over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallots until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garam masala and turmeric root and cook for 1 more minute.
Add the lime leaves and Kashmiri chile and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and ginger and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the salt and the coconut milk, and then gently stir in the mussels.
Cover the stockpot and cook until the mussels open, 12 to 15 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels. Stir in the lime juice and taste and add more salt, if necessary. Garnish the broth with the scallions and serve immediately.
* Extracted from Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food by Nik Sharma, published by Chronicle Books, £26.
Photography by Nik Sharma