Food / Sides, tapa-tizers + snacks

Mussels in Harissa Spiced Coconut Milk Broth

Mussels in Harissa Spiced Coconut Milk 03One of my favorite things about being on a pescetarian diet is that I can justify devouring a plateful of mussels all by myself because hey, I need the iron!

Mussels can not only rival steak when it comes to iron, but can completely crush it. A raw tenderloin steak, excluding refuse at 104 g, will give you 1.8 mg of iron whereas 100 g of cooked mussels will give you 6.7 mg. BOOM.

Clearly mussels know how to pump iron.

Mussels be like, “Hey, steak. Do you even lift?”

The Harissa-spiced coconut milk broth I made for my mussels today was definitely a success. A delectable broth is key, because nobody wants to be slurping insipidity out of a shell. Like, why bother?

This broth offers bright, sweet, and spiced flavors that include white wine, tomatoes, fresh lemon juice, turmeric, sweet paprika, scallions, garlic, and Harissa. It’s not too spicy by any means (well, for me anyway), but Harissa does make her presence known; she be flirtin’.

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Mussels in Harissa Spiced Coconut Milk Broth


  • 2 lbs of mussels de-bearded and scrubbed clean
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 to mato diced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 15 fl oz of light coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon of paprika I used sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of Harissa spice
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


  • Melt butter in a dutch oven or large saucepan over moderate heat.
  • Once melted, add the garlic and simmer until fragrant (don't brown), approx. 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and simmer for approx. 3 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender and nearly falling apart.
  • Add the 1/2 cup of white wine and drink the rest of the bottle.
  • Finally, add the coconut milk, lemon juice, turmeric, paprika, nutmeg, and Harissa.
  • Bring to a low simmer and let simmer for approx. 5 minutes or until the broth has slightly thickened up.
  • Add the mussels and half of the scallions.
  • Cover and simmer for approx. 5 minutes or until the shells have opened up (see notes).
  • Once the mussels have opened up, carefully transfer them to a serving dish/bowl.
  • Pour the remaining broth over the mussels and garnish with the other half of the scallions.
  • Serve with toast to soak up that broth!


If you have any unopened mussels, gently tap the top of the shell with a metal fork or spoon. Sometimes you need to simply "wake them up". If they open up, they're safe to eat. If they remain closed, discard them. This means that they were dead on arrival--not a good idea to eat'em.


  • Sophie
    April 10, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    Do you use harissa paste for this recipe?. I have Mina harissa. Do you have a particular brand that you like? Thanks!

    • Killing Thyme
      April 10, 2018 at 11:15 pm

      Hey Sophie! In this recipe, I used a ground spice, but I think harissa paste would work amazingly in this and I’ve been meaning to come back to this recipe and tweak it as such. I say start with a teaspoon, whisk into the coconut milk as it simmers away, and do a taste test. If you try it, please report back!

    June 8, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Wow! Simply wow! These look amazing! A must try.

    • Killing Thyme
      June 21, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      Thanks so much! I really need to make mussels again. I’ve been craving them lately!


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