Mussels in Light Broth

Asha Gomez

The Third Space, Atlanta

JBF Boot Camp alum Asha Gomez explains: "Rasam as traditionally prepared in in Southern India uses either tamarind or tomatoes as the base. It is a piquant broth poured over steaming hot rice. In our home both in Kerala and America, rasam was a staple part of everyday meals. One night when I was a teenager, I was out to dinner with my brother Tom and ate mussels cooked in a light tomato broth very reminiscent of rasam. I couldn’t wait to get home, buy fresh mussels, and cook them in rasam. Make sure to have some fresh crusty bread to soak up the tomato mussel broth."


4 servings


Mussels in Light Broth:

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, coarsely crushed in a mortar and pestle
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 10 to 12 whole black peppercorns, coarsely crushed in a mortar and pestle
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder
  • 16 ounces canned crushed tomatoes or 2 cups peeled and diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and stems
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 pounds fresh mussels
  • 1 tablespoon tempered oil

Tempered Oil:

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds


Prepare the mussels: in a 4-quart pot over medium heat, add the canola oil. Add the garlic, cumin, ginger, black peppercorns, salt, and asafoetida. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and the cilantro and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2 cups of water and cook for 8 minutes over low heat. Add the mussels and cover and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the mussels have opened.

While the mussels are cooking, make the tempered oil: in a small pan over medium heat, add the oil. Add the curry leaves and the mustard seeds. After about 30 seconds, the mustard seeds will begin to pop; remove the pot from the flame and set aside.

Assemble the dish: Remove the pot of mussels from the heat. Transfer the mussels and broth to a serving bowl and drizzle the tempered oil on top.

Reprinted with permission from My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen © 2016 by Asha Gomez with Martha Hall Foose, Running Press