How To Bake Tahong + More Tips You Should Know

Here are tips on how to prepare and bake tahong easily.

IMAGE Pixabay/Inma Gar

Tahong or the Asian green mussels are easy to prepare and bake for cheesy tahong. These local shellfish are fabulous as the food pairing for your ice-cold drinks with friends, but these baked tahong aren't just fit to be appetizers. It's a delicious dish in itself, and you have to let yourself enjoy it at its fullest with or without the ice-cold drinks in hand. 

Eager to make your first cheesy tahong? Here are tips on how to bake tahong easily: 

tahong or Asian green mussels
Photo by Judgefloro [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]
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1 Know when to buy tahong. 

Tahong are very plentiful during the wet season or when the rainy season is upon us. There's a saying that any month where there's an "r" is a good time to harvest and consume shellfish, but this is not the case, especially now that global warming has changed the seasons. Instead, shellfish harvested at the right time, when the tahong have grown a certain size, will be plump and juicy.  

Just note that the warmer months of the year are the time when mussels are spawning, so it's best to leave them to do that so it becomes a sustainable food source that you will have a chance to enjoy in the next season.  

Tahong however are susceptible to red tide, so it's a good habit to remember that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) gives regular red tide updates online.  Visit the site before you purchase so should the craving for these local mussels hit, you know it's safe to indulge your love for these tasty and meaty shellfish. 

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If safe, remember to choose mussels with tightly closed shells or shells that close when tapped. Disregard any that have broken shells or do not close when tapped. 

how to remove the beard from mussels or tahong

2 Clean and prepare the tahong right.  

Once you have your mussels, store these in an open bag or bucket, with a little ice if available to keep it cool, so it can breathe. You need to some cleaning and preparing before cooking these.

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Unlike clams or halaan that bury in the sand, mussels don't so there is no need to soak and desand these. However, it can still contain debris that you don't want to eat so if soaking, let it soak in freshwater for around 15 minutes to allow the shellfish to expel these out as it breathes.

To clean: Hold the tahong firmly in one hand then with the other holding a spoon, swipe the spoon between the barnacle and the mussel shell. You may have to do this a number of times to remove the barnacle. Rinse these under running water just to remove any shell fragments. 

Once those are off, use a kitchen towel, paper towel, or pliers or tweezers to get a good grip on the beard. Tug it out. This is inedible. Do this only before you start cooking as removing the beard can kill the tahong

tinolang tahong is the easy way to cook and prepare tahong into a delicious dish
Photo by Aldwin Aspillera
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3 You can steam it first to open the shell.

The easiest way to remove one shell to get to the meat is to cook it. You can do this easily in about 1-inch simmering water in a pot, so you can easily steam and force the tahong to open. If you have the patience and ability, you can shuck the mussels with an oyster knife, so the meat won't overcook when baked. However, we suggest do it the easy way and steam them open. 

once opened, tahong or mussels are easy to stuff with cheese and breadcrumbs.
Photo by Anna Varona
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4 Remove shells and stuff with cheese. 

Once cooked, remove the shells that don't contain the meat and then place these, meat side up, on a baking sheet. Grate cheese and top each one with small dollop of mayonnaise and top with the grated cheese for easy prep. Fill each one generously! You can even sprinkle these with breadcrumbs for crunch. 

These are ready to bake! You just need a few minutes or until the cheese melts under the broiler or even an oven toaster. Once that happens, these are ready to be removed and served.

Share your tips and tricks you do when preparing tahong! Do you shuck the tahong before or after the shellfish are cooked? Let us know how you make your deilcious baked cheesy tahong, too.   

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Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on Yummy.ph by submitting your recipe here!


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