Crispy Tahong (Deep-Fried Mussels)

As much as I enjoy the camaraderie of happy hour, I am an alcohol lightweight. A few sips of beer and I am already beet-red, standing shame-free on the table singing an off-key, teary rendition of “End of the World.”  So yes, liquor is not my cup of tea. While everyone in the party is busy with the inuman (drinking), I am deep into the pulutan (appetizers), especially if it’s crispy tahong with spicy vinegar dip!

Crispy Tahong (Deep-Fried Mussels)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
Servings Author: Lalaine Manalo
2 pounds half-shell New Zealand mussels
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
For Spicy Vinegar Dip
1 cup vinegar
3 to 4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
4 to 5 peppercorns crushed
1 thai chili pepper finely chopped
salt to taste
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Using a sharp knife, pry mussels from shells. Discard shells. Wash mussel meat and drain well.
In a bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Dredge mussels in flour mixture to completely coat.
In a pot over medium heat, heat about 2-inch deep of oil. Add mussels, shaking off excess flour, and deep-fry for about 5 to 7 minutes or until mussels are cooked through and are golden and crisp. Remove from heat and drain in a colander set over a bowl. Serve hot with spicy vinegar dip.
For Spicy Vinegar Dip
In a bowl, combine vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, chili and salt to taste.
Do not overcrowd pot during frying, fry in batches as needed.

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