Cooking Our Favorite Restaurant Dishes at Home

On a recent rainy night, Gothamist was ravenous, lonely and wandering in an area below the Brooklyn Bridge that seemed virtually abandoned. It was clear...tonight was going to be one of those guilty Big Mac nights. To be sure, Gothamist was actually standing on line at a dingy McD’s on Fulton Street but had to actually leave because the lines were virtually out the door.

Wandering down the street to a pizza place on the corner, Gothamist passed a little Thai place called Bennie’s Thai below street level. Further inspection revealed that it was an extremely casual restaurant that felt more like a café than a table clothed, waiter clad restaurant we were looking to avoid. Best of all, the menu in the window looked like the authentic full flavored Thai food that we love.

Ten minutes later, Gothamist had a Thai beer and a viscous green curry soup filled with thinly sliced chicken and various veggies ready to devour. Lemongrass, the floral flavor of kafir lime leaves, the deep earthiness of curry, and a sinister spiciness mellowed with sweet coconut milk was the perfect solution to those rainy, lonely blues. While eating, Gothamist couldn’t help but laugh at our good fortune. The food gods had smiled on us once again- from a greasy Big Mac to inspiration for another Gothamist Recipe.

Gothamist Recipe
Green Curry Coconut Soup
with sweet sausage, mussels and broccolini

We’ve taken the traditional Thai technique for making green curry and replaced a few ingredients based on what we felt like eating and what looked good at the market. The combination of sweet sausage and mussels is something we love to do at home – it’s easy and satisfying. The broccolini is smaller than regular broccoli, allowing you to quickly sauté it vs. blanching.

Ingredient Shopping List
Recipe serves two people

About 20 fresh mussels
.5 lb of fresh sweet sausage
extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 can coconut milk
1 can low sodium chicken stock
1 bunch broccolini
1 bunch of scallions
2 medium sized jalapenos chilies
1 clove garlic
1 small nugget of fresh ginger
1 package of kafir lime leaves
1 jar ground curry powder
1 lemon grass stalk
1 bunch basil
1 bunch cilantro
1 lime
1 lemon

Estimated cost of ingredients: $20 at Citarella

Shopping for the Ingredients

Lemongrass and kafir line leaves can be found at asian grocery stores, or virtually all of the higher-end markets like Citarella, Whole Foods and Fairway. Kalustyan’s is our favorite place to go for all spices. They also have kafir leaves frozen in the back. If you can’t find the leaves, you can grate some of the lime rinds to replace them, but it’s worth the effort to find them if you have the time.


Make the Curry Paste

Chop the garlic. Rinse and clean the herbs and scallions. Peel and chop the ginger, about 1 tablespoon is fine. Peel the first layer of skin from the white part from two of the scallions. Rough chop two of the scallions from top to bottom, discarding the root. Remove the outer layer of the lemongrass stalk. Remove the root and rough chop the half of lemongrass, from bottom up. Seed and remove white inner membrane of peppers. Rough chop them both. If you like it spicy, don’t remove this part of the chili. Remove one large handful of the basil leaves and add to the processor bowl. Do the same for the cilantro. Add in the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, 1 .5 teaspoons curry, jalapenos, a pinch of salt and black pepper to the processor bowl. Add the juice of one lime and one squeeze from the lemon. Add a :03 glug of olive oil and about 3 tablespoons water and puree to a smooth green paste. The flavor should have a kick but be reasonably mellow -- very fresh and fragrant. Set aside.


Brown the Sausage

Place a small pot on medium heat. After two minutes, add the sausage to the dry pan. Let brown for about 3 minutes on one side, flip for the other side and cook another 3 minutes. Take the sausage out of the pan and set aside. It should be medium rare, as you'll add it back to the soup and finish cooking it there.

Sauté the Broccolini

Chop the bottom half of the broccolini stems off and discard. Turn the same pot you used for the sausage onto medium heat. Add the broccolini with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for about 2 minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and about three tablespoons of water to the pan and scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 2 more minutes – they should be firm and al dente. Take out of the pan and set aside.


Make the Soup

In the same pot, add one cup (half can) of stock and one cup (half can) coconut milk. Add three of the kafir lime leaves to the liquid and bring to simmer. At this point, mix in all of the curry paste from the processor and taste for seasonings. Turn up to high heat.

Make the Mussels

When the soup is very hot and boiling, add the mussels and put a lid on the pot. Let steam for about 2 minutes, or until they are open.


Finish the Dish

Chop your sausage into large chunks and mix into into the soup to finish cooking, about one minute. Add the broccolini as well. After a minute or so, ladle the soup into large bowls, distributing the ingredients evenly. Serve with a bowl for the discarded mussel shells.