How To Easily Cook Tahong

These tips will ensure you cook tahong perfectly every time.

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Tahong should not be intimidating to cook! Tahong or the Asian green mussels are actually very easy to cook. What you might find more intimidating than cooking these fast-cooking shellfish is cleaning the tahong. These bivalves need to be cleaned properly so any physical dirt and debris are removed before cooking. 

However, if you're still a new cook and learning how to cook tahong for your next cheesy baked tahong fix, here's what you should do every time you have a craving:  

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How to Clean and Prepare Tahong  

Before anything else, you should check the red tide alerts so you can be sure that shellfish in general are safe to eat. To stay updated on the latest alerts about the deadly algal blooms every month of the year, visit the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) website for the latest bulletins. 

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Once you have your safe-to-eat tahong, you can soak the tahong for 10 to 15 minutes in cold water to help it expel any dirt or grit it may have ingested into the clean water. Discard any tahong with broken shells as these might have been contaminated with dirt or might already be dead. Any open tahong which do not close when lightly tapped are also dead. Rinse and discard these tahong and the water. 

If you examine the tahong's shells, you might see some shells have barnacles attached or other debris on the outside. Remove these by doing these steps:

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  1. 1 Hold the mussel with a kitchen towel to prevent slipping. 
  2. 2 Using the back of a spoon, use it to scrape off the barnacles and any dirt on the shells, then rinse under running water or a bowl of water. Repeat with each tahong
  3. 3 To remove the beard or the hairy protrusion from the shell, use a kitchen towel, paper towel, pliers, or kitchen tweezers to get a good grip on the beard then tug it out. Discard. 

You should only remove the beards when you're ready to cook the tahong

Photo by Majoy Siason
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How to Cook Tahong

The hard part is over but you have a decision to make: What recipe are you using for the tahong? This is important because it will determine what liquid you will use for cooking the tahong. Are you making a ginataang tahong recipe or are you just making a simple tinolang tahong soup with ginger, onions, and garlic? Are you making the cheesy baked tahong instead? 

Either way, you need to cook the tahong in a liquid so it can gently steam and release its juices which will be used later in the dish. To easily cook tahong here's what you should do: 

  1. 1 Heat a pot over medium heat and then add just enough oil to cover the bottom.
  2. 2 Add ginger, onions, garlic, and any other aromatics that you want to add flavor to the tahong
  3. 3 Once these sweat, add the tahong. Cover with a lid and let cook and develop steam, around 5 to 10 minutes. Shake the pan to distribute the tahong in the pan and evenly cook. 
  4. 4 Open the lid and discard any tahong which did not open. 

You are ready to add other ingredients to the pot or remove one of the shells to prepare these for that cheesy baked tahong recipe you've been wanting to make. 

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Are you excited to try this technique and make tahong recipes? Here are four delicious ways to cook tahong that you should try.   

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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 own 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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