You Can Cook Tahong In 4 Different Delicious Ways

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. 

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: 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. After soaking, use a spoon to remove and scrub off any barnacles or coral still attached to the shell of the mussel. Rinse thoroughly. 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 the tahong.

How do you cook tahong?

Here are a few ways you can cook these bivalves:  

Photo by Lilen Uy

1 Steam it.

An easy way to cook tahong is to steam it. This means 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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Photo by Bianca Laxamana

2 Bake it. 

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: chopped garlic, your preferred cheese, breadcrumbs, spinach or kangkong, or even some tomatoes if that's what you want.   

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Photo by Majoy Siason

3 Stir fry with intense flavors. 

One of the fastest ways to cook tahong is to simply stir fry 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. 

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Photo by Aldwin Aspillera

4 Simmer.  

This may be the easiest way to cook tahong. 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.     

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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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