museels and clams with cilantro and coconut

Recipe for Cockles, Mussels and Clams with Green Cabbage and Coconut Curry

A recipe for cockles, mussels and clams that cooks quickly with very little mess

Chef and cookbook author Diane Brown loves to spend a Sunday visiting the fishmonger and cooking up the catch of the day. One of her favorite things to make is this recipe for cockles, mussels and clams, because it’s a one-pot dish. The liquid inside the shellfish helps flavor the sauce and the vegetables. And because it all cooks together, there’s less to clean up.

This recipe features some of the most aphrodisiac gifts of the sea. Mussels, clams and cockles, all believed to help raise sexual hormone levels. Whether your Sunday plans involve a night of passion or not, paired with a glass of crisp, white wine, this dish will an unforgettable end to any weekend.

What are cockles?

If you’ve heard of cockles but aren’t sure what they are, you’re not alone. Cockles are just another type of bivalve, like mussels and clams. In fact, they look like a little like clams with almost round, ridged shells. But viewed from the end, the shell’s shape looks almost like a heart. I think it adds to their romance. The main difference between cockles and clams is that cockles have to be cooked before eating.

Chef’s tip

If you can’t find one of the three shellfish ingredients, you can double up on one of the others. Or just make a whole pot of cockles–or mussels–whichever bivalve you prefer! Diane loves the subtle variety in textures and flavors you get from combining all three. But this recipe’s all about easy, so do what works for you.

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museels and clams with cilantro and coconut
Cockles, Mussels and Clams with Green Cabbage, Cilantro and Coconut Curry
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins

This simple, one-pot recipe combines the ocean flavor of shellfish with coconut, cilantro and green curry. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Southeast Asian
Keyword: Clams
Dish Type: One-Pot
Diet and Health: Healthy, low carb
Ingredient: mussels
Servings: 4
Created by: Diane Brown
  • 1 15-oz can coconut milk
  • 2 garlic cloves grated
  • 1 1-inch section peeled, fresh ginger cut into slices
  • 1-2 tbsp green curry paste
  • 4 cup of shredded cabbage
  • small bunch of cilantro stems and leaves
  • 1 tbsp Asian fish sauce
  • 3 lbs live shellfish such as mussels, clams or cockels
  • juice and zest of one lime
  1. In a Dutch oven or skillet with a fitted lid, heat 2 tablespoons of the fat cap of the coconut milk (when you open the can, there is a thick layer of coconut oil that has risen to the top.) Reserve the remaining coconut milk.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger, heating until fragrant, about a minute, then add the curry paste, cabbage and half of the cilantro stems and leaves.
  3. Cook until the cabbage starts to wilt, then add the remaining coconut milk, fish sauce and shellfish.
  4. Cover the pan and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer (liquid should still be moving) and cook the shellfish for about 3 minutes.
  5. Use a large spoon or ladle to stir the bottom layer of shellfish to the top, and cover again, continuing to cook until the shellfish starts to open.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and zest. Eat immediately, discarding any shellfish that didn’t open.



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