Tom Kha Mussels & Forbidden Rice

By TWS resident Nutritionist Quincey Cummings

When you can get your hands on fresh mussels, either from your local seafood market or foraged yourself, this is a fantastic dinner or appetizer to share with a small group of friends while at anchor. The presentation is lovely, especially with antioxidant-rich black forbidden rice.

Tom Kha Mussels with Forbidden Rice


1/2 onion, diced

1” fresh galangal or ginger, diced

1 stalk fresh lemongrass, cut into 2” sections

1 tablespoon red curry paste

1 teaspoon tamarind paste

1 teaspoon coconut sugar

3-5 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 large tomato, sliced into half-moons

1 can full-fat coconut milk

1/2 cup water or vegetable broth

4 cups of fresh mussels



Cooked forbidden black rice (alternative - short brown or basmati rice)


  1. In a pressure cooker (I use a 6 qt.), sauté on medium heat the diced onions in coconut oil for about 5 minutes. Add in the ginger and lemongrass, sauté a couple more minutes until fragrant.

  2. Mix in the curry paste, tamarind paste, and coconut sugar.

  3. Stir in the coconut milk, broth, tomato slices, and garlic and mix until the broth is a uniform color.

  4. Finally, add in the fresh mussels (washed and “de-bearded”) and seal the pressure cooker lid. Bring to pressure and cook on high pressure for two minutes.

  5. Turn off heat and safely remove it from the stove if possible. I like to use the “quick release” method (different model pressure cookers will have different quick release methods, check your instruction manual). To keep the steam down inside the boat, I will very carefully transport the pressure cooker to the cockpit, place it on a hot pad, and quick-release the steam outside.

  6. Serve up the bowls with rice, and spoon over some broth and mussels. Garnish with cilantro and fresh lime wedges.

Serves 4

Mussels are some of the best sources of anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fats, especially the form DHA (think of that expensive supplement you find at health food stores promoting heart and brain health). Mussels are filter feeders and get their Omega 3s from the algae they eat. Mussels are also loaded with B vitamins, including B-12, that support energy and brain function. Plus, mussels are low on the food chain, making them a nutritious and highly sustainable seafood option!

Quincey Cummings​

Quincey is a holistic nutritionist and co-captain aboard her Kelly Peterson 46, Esprit. She spent much of her childhood in Southeast Asia and she's had the great fortune to travel to many countries. Her culinary tastes reflect a fusion of worldly cuisines. She holds a degree in Nutrition and Human Development and is a certified Nutritionist. She delights in sharing two of her greatest passions; sailing and great food! Her desire is to inspire other cruisers to nourish themselves every day with delicious meals they can create in small, moving spaces. Together with her partner they liveaboard and cruise the Southern California coast and the Channel Islands, with plans to venture further south and into the Trade Winds.

You can find more delicious, cruising-friendly recipes on her Galley Blog


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