This low carb mussels with coconut curry soup (or stew) is easy to make, loaded with flavor, low carb/ keto friendly and it also delivers 665 mg of heart-healthy omega 3s. Seafood dishes can often taste fairly bland, but the coconut-curry broth gives this fish stew a punch of creamy, rich flavor.
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Tips for Making Thai, Mexican and Asian dishes low carb
I first had mussels combined with curry broth at a restaurant called Thai Basil in Denver, Colorado. They served it with a huge bowl of rice on the side of course, but the curry was so rich and full of flavor that the rice was easy to ignore. I did ask them for added white fish to the bowl to up the protein count a bit.
Rice is typically served with most of the Thai, Mexican and Asian restaurants that I visit. Rice is not compliant with a low carb, slow carb or keto lifestyle.
A dish that is prepared with a knowledge of spice blends and flavor combinations really doesn’t need rice to complete it however. In fact, I find the rice often just mutes the glorious, sometimes delicate flavors of the dish.
The Benefits of Cooking Seafood as your Protein Source
Sometimes with meat proteins, a long slow cooking process is required to really enhance the texture and flavor of the dish.
The nice thing about fish and some of the bright, spicy sauces that often accompany fish dishes is the length of cooking time needed to get the desired flavor is minimal.
Whichever cooking technique or method you choose, most fish takes very little time from start to finish. In fact, the most common way to ruin a seafood recipe is to overcook the fish.
Thicker filets of things like cod or tuna make take a bit longer, but most shellfish or thin filets will be cooked through in 5-10 minutes.
Why is Cooking Seafood Intimidating?
So why is cooking seafood so intimidating to so many people, especially Americans? My guess is threefold:
- If you don’t live in a coastal area, you are probably not used to cooking fish. The unfamiliar is always a bit intimidating
- Seafood can be expensive and that means a little anxiety about ruining it
- Seafood can be really bland without spices or sauces, and it can be rubbery if overcooked
Tips to Decrease Cost of Fish & Seafood
Some fish can be quite expensive (i.e., seabass and lobster), but you can also get really good fish that is moderately priced.
If you are buying fish in a grocery store opt for fish that has been flash frozen. It will end often end up being fresher, as many stores buy it flash frozen to begin with and thaw it out for their deli counters.
If quality is of utmost importance to you rather than the cost of seafood, I have found Sizzlefish to be of reliable quality and they ship to your home.
Here is a range of readily available seafood in categories of inexpensive, moderate or expensive:
- Relatively inexpensive: perch, tilapia, clams, mussels, seafood blends (Trader Joes sells a seafood blend of shrimp, scallops & calamari for $7.99)
- Moderately priced: White-fleshed fish is usually fairly inexpensive and this would include cod, haddock, catfish, scallops, and snapper.
- Relatively more expensive: Salmon, bluefin tuna, swordfish, crab, fresh oysters, seabass, & lobster.
- For fun: All of the above will appear very inexpensive if you compare it to the most expensive fish in the world! A bluefin tuna sold at $1.76 Million in the year 2003, and it still holds the position of the most expensive seafood of all time.
Here are a few more tips for keeping costs down when cooking with fish/seafood:
- Some seafood is better than no seafood. Try using fish as an ingredient rather than the main dish. Add it to pasta (i.e., crab mac and cheese or clam linguine) or use it in a soup or chowder like this popular cioppino or fish stew.
- If you buy fish from a local fishmonger, ask for trimmings or a piece of the salmon tail. They are half the price and are still high quality. The are just the bits and pieces that butchers trim off to make aesthetically pleasing pieces of fish for display.
- As mentioned above, buy flash frozen fish. It is frozen right on the boat and will keep until you are ready for it
The recipe below uses inexpensive mussels in a rich coconut curry broth. Next time I make this low carb mussels with coconut curry broth for dinner I will probably add some white fish (halibut, cod, etc.) to get a little more protein and add a little more texture. The broth is rich enough on its own however to make a completely satisfying weeknight dinner.
My Favorite Seafood Recipes
- Mexican Fish Veracruz
- Cioppino vs Bouillabaisse vs Fish Chowder
- Almond Crusted Cod
- Italian Flat Beans and Smothered Cod
- Brazilian Shrimps in Pumpkin (Camarão na Moranga)
Recipe for Mussels with Coconut Curry
Low Carb Mussels with Coconut Curry Stew
- 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 14- oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 heaping tsp minced garlic I used garlic from a jar
- 1 heaping Tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 tsp curry paste you can use curry powder if you wish
- 1 tsp fennel seeds crushed (either in grinder or with mortar/pestle)
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper or any other hot pepper spice
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 14- oz can coconut milk AROY-D is good brand, you can use lite if you want- I did not
- ½ cup dry white wine dry red wine is OK also
- 2 lbs. mussels I used frozen mussels – Bantry Bay Brand
- chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 min, or until translucent.1-2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 medium onion
- Add tomatoes, garlic, ginger, curry paste or powder, fennel seeds, cayenne and salt; cook a few minutes until well blended and heated throughout.1 14- oz can diced tomatoes, 1 heaping tsp minced garlic, 1 heaping Tbsp grated fresh ginger, 2 tsp curry paste, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp salt
- Add coconut milk and wine, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.1 14- oz can coconut milk, 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Add the mussels, cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook for a few minutes until mussels have opened (about 4 min).2 lbs. mussels
- Serve garnished with cilantro.chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
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