Put mussels a sink filled with cold water. Scrub and debeard if necessary. Drain and set aside.
Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add tomatoes, garlic, ginger and curry paste. Sauté for about a minute until very fragrant. Add coconut milk, fish sauce and sugar. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste. Add more curry paste at this point if it’s not spicy enough. Add carrots, red pepper, half the cilantro, half the basil and the mussels; cover and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until mussels open. Discard any that remain closed.
While mussels are cooking, cook noodles according to package directions. Ladle noodles into bowls. Top with mussels, Thai broth, and finish with remaining fresh cilantro and basil.
- Cultivated mussels sold in Nova Scotia are generally clean and free of a beard – ie. no mossy seaweed growing from their shells. However, if there is a beard, simply give them a scrub and pull any seaweed off.
- Fish sauce, called Nam Pla in Thailand, is now available in most major supermarkets. It adds saltiness to Thai dishes. Salt can be substituted.
- Palm sugar is the traditional Thai sweetening agent in curries. But it’s hard to find. Brown sugar can be substituted.
- The amount of Thai curry pasted used depends on personal taste and varying brands. Some are fiery hot, others are mild. Start with a small amount and add according to taste.