Like all Thai food, this soup is full of complexly orchestrated flavours and a hint of spice which will delight your guests. It does take time to cook but requires little preparation and once you have got it started, you have plenty of time to prepare the rest of your meal.
- Wash the mussels well, cut the lemon grass into 5cm pieces, chop the shallot, galangal and garlic up finely. Juice the lime, slice the chilli up the middle, remove the seeds and chop the flesh up finely. Give the coconut cream a good shake before you open it.
- Add the lemon grass to a large pot together with the stock, coconut milk, galangal and lime leaves. Cover with a lid, bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 90 minutes.
- Strain and keep the soup and discard the lemon grass, galangal and lime leaves. Add the shallots, garlic, chilies, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice to the stock and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add the mussels, and the carrot, cover with a lid and simmer for a further 5 minutes or until the mussels have opened.
- Garnish with the slices of spring onion and serve with fresh slices of baguette and a wedge or two of lemon.