These curried steamed mussels made me realize that for years I’d not been doing justice to the mighty Mytilus edulis by serving it with a run-of-the-mill white-wine broth. I found inspiration for this from Martin Ruiz Salvador, chef and owner of Fleur de Sel, in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.–David Leite

When are wild mussels at their best?

Remember that little saying about how you’re not supposed to eat bivalves during months lacking an “r”—to whit, May, June, July, or August? It pretty much holds true if we’re talking about wild mussels, so stick to the rule. If your hankering is for farmed mussels, that’s another story. Modern mussel farms carefully monitor the water level for algae bloom, a toxin that proliferates during warmer months and which is responsible for the little ditty that’s disappointed many a mussel aficionado during summer. So go right ahead. Indulge. Anytime.

A white plate topped with curried steamed mussels in a creamy sauce.

Curried Steamed Mussels

5 from 1 vote
Curried steamed mussels as you’ve never had them before. Garlic, curry, white wine, and cilantro slathered beauties. Seriously, these are delish.
David Leite
CuisineNew England
Servings4 servings
Calories445 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes


  • 4 pounds mussels*
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro


  • Debeard and scrub the mussels, discarding any that feel heavy, have broken shells, or don’t close when lightly tapped against the counter.
  • Melt the butter over medium heat in a large stock pot. Add the shallots and saute until softened, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Increase the heat to high. Add the white wine and mussels, cover and cook until the mussels open, 5 to 9 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. 
  • With a slotted spoon, remove the mussels to a bowl, discarding any that didn’t open. Wrap the bowl in a clean tea towel and keep warm.
  • Add the curry powder and cream to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, add the lime juice and cook to thicken slightly. Return the mussels to the pot, toss to coat and heat through. Ladle the mussels and broth into warmed bowls and sprinkle with cilantro.


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 445 kcalCarbohydrates: 14 gProtein: 29 gFat: 27 gSaturated Fat: 15 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 7 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 141 mgSodium: 684 mgPotassium: 873 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 2 gVitamin A: 1277 IUVitamin C: 22 mgCalcium: 107 mgIron: 10 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2005 David Leite. Photo © 2005 Emily Brooke Sandor. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Delicious! This was the first time I’ve cooked mussels in a curry sauce and dare I say, this may be my go-to recipe going forward. The sauce was so flavourful, we were soaking it up with bread.

I never really thought of mussels as a weeknight meal, but start to finish, I had this on the table in 20 minutes, it’s so fast and easy. My mussels were cooked in 4 minutes rather than the 9 minutes that was suggested, so do take a peek mid-way and if the shells are open, you’re done!

The flavours were PERFECT!

Growing up in NJ, our local tavern always had mussels marinara on the menu. It was a great dish to enjoy with a glass of beer. And if you were in downtown Hoboken at the legendary Clam Broth House, they had the best mussels in the world to enjoy. Dining there was an experience, where you might be rubbing your shoulders with an entertainer, politician or even a mobster! Recently, our local mussel spot in Indy, Brugge Brasserie, closed down as a result of COVID virus. So when I saw this recipe, I knew it was one to try out.

This recipe certainly comes together quickly and easily, and one can get it prepped in about 10 minutes. It’s ready in about 20 minutes overall. Now curried mussels are something a little different from the Italian or Belgian dishes, and an Indian curry powder can be very overpowering in a dish. However, the recipe calls for such a little bit of curry powder, you get a nice hit of those Indian flavors that certainly complement the mussels at the back end of every bite.

Next time I may increase the curry by a half to give it a little bit more kick. I air fried some french fries (gotta keep an eye on the cholesterol) to dip into the sauce so I could have some rif on a Moules Frites, Indian style. All I know is my better half told me to add this to the repertoire! High praise indeed!

Up your weeknight dinner game with this delicious and easy curried mussels recipe! I served it with toasted baguette to soak up the delicious broth and the whole family was happy.

Because we have a dairy allergy in the family, I made a few substitutions. In lieu of butter, I sauteed the shallots and garlic in Miyokos cultured vegan butter (a favorite in our house). In the third step, I used unsweetened coconut milk in place of the heavy cream.

Mussels are something we often order at a restaurant but don’t often think about making at home and we should, they’re so easy! These curried steamed mussels are tender morsels of deliciousness and when bathed in the rich creamy curry sauce, they’re addictive. A side of crusty bread is a must to sop up the sauce.

The one change I will make next time I make this is to add a touch of heat. The sauce was really, really good but would benefit from 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Love your curried version but what about Chinese-style fermented black beans, garlic and chili or Provençale-style tomatoes, white wine, garlic, shallots, herbs and chili? Or go rustic with beer, Thai with a green curry or tom yam sauce, Spanish with chorizo, sherry, garlic, smoked paprika? So many mussels, so little time… The one must-have though as Ling pointed out is good crusty bread to mop up all the delectable juices 😉

    1. Viv, just saw this, so sorry. Yes, that sounds amazing! As always you come through the best!

  2. 5 stars
    Sounds heavenly. You should also try sliced lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, bashed cilantro root, chiles and coconut milk. Or salt pork, garlic and thyme. Or cream, shallots, chopped tomato and chopped Italian parsley. Or–oh the possibilities are endless–you just need plenty of good bread for all those juices!

    1. Ling, I love the different variations. I wonder if other of our readers have their own variations for mussels?!