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Thailand | Thai Noodle Bowls with Mussels
and green papaya salad

Active: 45 min Total: 45 min
These two authentic and beloved lunch dishes served throughout Thailand may trick you into thinking that you are sitting at a noodle stand in Bangkok. Enjoy the mussels while twirling noodles between a spoon and fork.


Thai Noodle Bowls with Mussels:
  • Lemongrass (opt) - 2 bulbs , smashed
  • Onions - 1/2 , chopped
  • Noodles, Udon (sub soba or spaghetti) - 8 oz
  • Mussels, cleaned and debearded (most come debearded by the fishmonger) - 1 lb
  • Cilantro - 2 Tbsp , leaves torn
  • Oil, cooking - 2 Tbsp
  • Curry paste, red (sub green or yellow) - 1 Tbsp
  • Coconut milk, light and unsweetened (14 oz / 397 g can) - 1 can
  • Stock, any type - 2 cups
  • Soy sauce, low-sodium - 1 Tbsp
  • Limes - 1/2 , juice of
Green Papaya Salad:
  • Peanuts, roasted and unsalted - 1/4 cup , chopped
  • Jalapenos (sub serrano or bird's eye chilis if you like extra spice) - 1/2 , sliced
  • Garlic - 1 clove , chopped
  • Limes - 1/2 , juice of
  • Fish sauce - 2 tsp
  • Sugar, brown - 1 tsp
  • Carrots, medium - 1 , shredded
  • Papaya, unripe and green (look for dark green, firm fruit or sub 2 cucumbers per papaya) - 1 , shredded


  1. Lemongrass / Onions / Peanuts - (If prepping right before cooking, start water boiling for noodles before continuing with prep.) Prep as directed. If lemongrass came in a long stalk, slice off the lowest part of the stalk (the bulb) and discard the rest. Use a meat tenderizer to smash the lemongrass stalks until they break open. Combine lemongrass and onions in one container. Store peanuts separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Jalapenos / Garlic - Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
  3. Make dressing - Combine jalapenos, garlic, lime juice (portion for salad), fish sauce and sugar. (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
  4. Noodles - Cook according to package instructions. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
  5. Carrots / Papaya - Shred carrots and papaya / cucumbers (if using papaya, peel papaya first) with a Julienne peeler or box grater and combine. (Can be done up to 2 days ahead)
  6. Mussels - Clean and debeard if not done by your fishmonger. Scrub and soak in a bowl of water. It’s rare to find mussels that have not been debearded, but if you need to do this yourself, here’s a demo from The Kitchn. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
  7. Cilantro - Chop cilantro.

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  1. Toss carrots and papaya in dressing (if you have a large mortar and pestle, gently pound the salad to soften veggies). Refrigerate salad while preparing mussels.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add oil and then lemongrass and onions to heated oil. Saute until onions are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add curry paste and saute until it starts to release oil, about 1 minute.
  3. Add coconut milk, stock and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Add mussels. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until mussels have opened up.
  5. While mussels cook, taste papaya salad and add additional lime juice, sugar or fish sauce to suit your taste. Top with peanuts.
  6. Divide noodles between serving bowls. Ladle mussels and cooking liquid over noodles (discard any mussels that didn't open during cooking and discard lemongrass stalks). Top noodle bowls with cilantro and lime juice.
  7. Serve noodle bowls with papaya salad on the side and enjoy!



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