4 Delicious Ways To Cook Tahong

Tahong, or mussels, are so easy to cook, you can do it differently every time.

IMAGE Patrick Martires

Tahong, or the Asian green mussel, are a delicious shellfish that is one of the more affordable bundles you can get at your local palengke or supermarket. It's plentiful when available, and best of all, it makes a great meal. 

If you love tahong, just always make sure to keep an eye out for new for the dreaded red tide alert before heading to the market. Whether you're looking for tahong, crabs, or even just shrimp, it's always good practice to know when it's safe and unsafe to consume shellfish in your area. 

How to Prepare Tahong

Beyond knowing if the red tide alert is up or not, there is also the hassle of trying to figure out how to properly choose, store, and clean your bag of mussels. It's actually quite easy preparing tahong for cooking.

Here's what you do: 

  1. 1. Transfer the tahong into a large bowl filled with fresh water. Let soak for at least 15 minutes to as long as overnight. This will encourage the mussels to expel any debris or grit.
  2. 2. After soaking, use a spoon to remove and scrub off any barnacles or coral still attached to the shell of the mussel. Rinse thoroughly.
  3. 3. Once the shell has been cleaned, using pliers, grab hold of the beard and pull it out. A word of warning though: only remove the beard when you're ready to cook. Otherwise, leave it until you are ready.
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Once you've cleaned and prepared, you are finally ready to cook delicious tahong dishes!

How to Cook Tahong

Here are a few ways you can cook these bivalves:  

1 Steam it.

mussels or tahong stir fried with kangkong in a cast iron pan
Photo by Lilen Uy
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An easy way to cook tahong is to steam it. To make a simple steamed tahong dish, you just need a little bit of water and bring this to a boil. Lower the heat until it's just simmering. Add the cleaned tahong to the pot, cover, and then let it simmer until the majority of the shells open.

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2 Bake it. 

baked tahong or mussels topped with crunchy garlic and breadcrumbs on an aluminum tray
Photo by Bianca Laxamana

If you love baked tahong, you'll have to prepare the tahong in two steps: steam it then bake it. That's because it's easier to remove the other half of the shell when it's cooked than if it were still raw. So, steam the mussels until each have opened, remove the shell which doesn't have the meat attached to it, and place on a baking tray. Then top it off with your favorite topping! This flavorful baked tahong with garlic and cheese recipe uses chopped garlic and your preferred cheese; for extra crunch and texture, you can also add breadcrumbs, spinach or kangkong, or even some tomatoes. If you want to go for flavor, you can also bake tahong with salted egg cream sauce!

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3 Stir fry with intense flavors. 

tahong or mussels cooked in coconut cream, with kangkong, green chilis, and ginger slices
Photo by Majoy Siason

One of the quickest tahong recipes you can make involves stir frying the shellfish. The way to do this is to basically cook the tahong in a large pan or wok, and add enough liquid to simmer the tahong until it's cooked through. This can get a little tricky because the tahong that's not closest to the heat may not open. Don't worry though. You can easily remedy this by stirring. Take care though that you don't overcook the tahong which can make it rubbery. 

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Despite this, this is an amazingly flavorful way to cook tahong since most stir fries are loaded with many ingredients. This ginataang tahong recipe is a great example; between the turmeric, the coconut cream, and the aromatics, the tahong really gets a boost in flavor!

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4 Simmer.  

tinolang tahong or mussel tinola in two small bowls and a big pot
Photo by Aldwin Aspillera
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This may be the easiest way to make tahong dishes. All you have to do is place the shellfish in a pot, fill with water, season as desired, and then bring to a boil. As with the other methods, you'll have to cook the tahong just until the shells open. Once open, you can stop cooking and serve immediately. Easy, fast, and best of all, let's you sip the juices straight from the shell. 

You can make this easy tahong sa tinola or tinolang tahong recipe if you're in the mood for a light and refreshing soup, or if you're craving for something creamier and mroe decadent, this clam and mussel in coconut milk recipe may be the one for you!

Ready to Try More Tahong Recipes?

Tahong is simple, delicious, and if you know what you're doing, easy to prepare and cook. Remember to check the red tide alert and when it's safe, go out and get your tahong for a delicious meal. 

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Here are more tahong recipes you can try:

• Clam and Tahong Chowder Recipe

• Adobong Malunggay At Tahong Recipe

• Spicy Tahong Recipe

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