RECIPE: Tinolang Tahong (Mussel Soup)
21 years have passed and not a day goes by that I don’t miss my birth home, when I left in 1989 there were many fond memories that I took with me, and one of those were the variety of tastes that the Philippines had to offer. I grew up eating traditional dishes, fruits and delicacies, and all my life I have always kept those memories close to my heart.
When I was a child I was lucky enough to pick and eat passion fruits, mangos, guavas and star-fruits whenever I want. Those things were freely available in our garden. We didn’t rely on supermarkets for our food, what we needed and wanted was there, and I always feel very privileged to have had that experience.
I don’t know about you, but certain foods reminds me of certain events in my life. And once in a while I like to reminisce and recall those events through my love of food.
This dish always reminds me of my childhood, I remember my mom used to cook ‘Tahong’ all the time, the smell of frying garlic, ginger and onions always brings me back. Good times, that I wish I can re-live. But hey, at least I can always reflect, smile and say… those were the days.
So, this is my own take on one of the Philippines most popular dish, and if you’re a seafood lover like myself, I’m sure you would appreciate the fusion of refreshing flavours that this dish will bring to your palate.
Mussel Soup (Tinolang Tahong)
- 1kg Fresh live mussels
- 5 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 large red onion diced
- 1 thumb of ginger grated
- 1 pint of water
- handful of coriander
- 4 tbsp cooking oil
- 1tsp fish sauce
- pinch of rock salt
- 1 red chilli
- Firstly, clean the mussels by putting them in a bowl of cold water, scrape the beards and barnacles. Throw away any ones that float or that are open. Here is a link that I particularly find useful.
- Heat the oil in a large work, add onion, garlic and ginger sauté until golden brown then add water and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the mussels and cover for until all the shells are open, be careful not to over cook the mussels as these will make them quite chewy.
- Add salt and fish sauce, stir.
- Add the chilli and coriander simmer for a couple of minutes then serve with steamed rice.
*the strength of the flavour depends on how much water you add, so feel free to add more water for less ‘fishy’ flavour and less for a more fuller taste.