Thailand | Thai Noodle Bowls with Mussels
and green papaya salad
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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)
- Jalapenos / Garlic - Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
- Make dressing - Combine jalapenos, garlic, lime juice (portion for salad), fish sauce and sugar. (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
- Noodles - Cook according to package instructions. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- 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)
- 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)
- Cilantro - Chop cilantro.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add coconut milk, stock and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer.
- Add mussels. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until mussels have opened up.
- While mussels cook, taste papaya salad and add additional lime juice, sugar or fish sauce to suit your taste. Top with peanuts.
- 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.
- Serve noodle bowls with papaya salad on the side and enjoy!
Could have been spicier. Papaya was too ripe and added cayenne powder instead of fresh jalapeno, but was still pretty good.0 Helpful
Was shocked how fabulous this was! The whole family including daddy, toddler and 4 year old thoroughly enjoyed.0 Helpful
Not a crowd pleaser in my house.0 Helpful
Bland at first, but I added more curry paste and it definitely improved!0 Helpful
I gave It a two star, but It's a "good" two star. I wouldn't mind It again, and I didn't find the prep too taxing. I used cucumber for the salad, which I though was a nice little accompaniment.0 Helpful
The store was out of mussels, so I seared up some tuna steaks and threw those in. Also, added mushrooms and a splash of peanut sauce. I didn't buy a papaya because they were huge and expensive, so had a mango salad instead. Pretty tasty!0 Helpful