Brilliant for nearly no effort at all, assuming you start with cleaned mussels… This adobong tahong recipe takes just a few minutes to prepare, and it tastes fantastic! Great with steamed rice, or as a pica-pica with some toasted slices of french bread. Don’t know why I have never posted this simple recipe before.
If you are using fresh mussels, make sure they come from trusted waters. Clean the shells and remove the beards. I used frozen mussels from Chile, small meats with great flavor. Into a pot, add two tablespoons of good lard (we make our own), which I do think makes a difference. Use vegetable oil if you prefer, but you will miss a layer of richness provided by the lard. Saute several cloves of garlic, sliced thinly, then add in the mussels, bay leaves (fresh and dried if you have them), cracked black pepper (I find the whole peppercorns a nuisance in the cooked dish) vinegar, soy sauce and just half a tablespoon of brown sugar to round out the flavors. Let the vinegar cook off first, mussels unstirred for a couple of minutes before you add the sugar. Add some sliced siling mahaba or finger chilies or siling labuyo or bird’s eye chilies if you prefer more spice.
Cook over high heat to get some of exuded mussel liquid to boil and evaporate. Taste your dish as you go along, adjusting saltiness, sweetness and sourness as you prefer. While you want to reduce the liquid a bit, I can’t stand it when people boil the dish to death, resulting in tough, chewy mussels more akin to adobong monggol erasers than mussels. When the mussels are just cooked (they will be tender) and the sauce reduced a bit, transfer to warmed serving platters or serve out of the hot pot.
Garnish with more sliced green chilies if desired, and for photo’s sake, I added some deep fried shallots as a garnish. It looks good, and tasted nice, but is optional if you don’t have them handy. Serve HOT. Super easy, super fast and really delicious!
P.S. Mussels are considered one of the best foods to consume these days. Economical, plentiful, renewable, sustainable, high-protein, etc. So eat more mussels! :)