Crispy Tahong are the ultimate seafood appetizer! Dredged in flour and cornstarch and deep-fried until golden and crunchy, these deep-fried mussels are seriously addictive.
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!
If you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing appetizer, these deep-fried mussels need to be on your list. They’re crunchy, tasty, and seriously addictive!
Plus, they’re super easy to make especially if you use New Zealand frozen half-shell mussels which just need a gentle pry to remove the meat. Better yet, check if your store carries fully shucked mussels that are ready to dredge in flour.
In a pinch, you can also use full shell mussels. Steam them for about 1 to 2 minutes or just until the shells open. Carefully pry the meat off and discard the shells.
The mussels are coated in a mixture of flour and cornstarch for a light and crisp breading.
I seasoned the flour with a simple blend of garlic powder, salt, and pepper, but feel free to experiment with herbs and spices such as chili powder, paprika, lemon pepper, or dried coriander.
- Pat dry the mussels with paper towels for the coating to adhere better.
- For best results, use enough oil to fully submerge the tahong and heat to an optimal temperature of 350 F to 375 F.
- Use high-smoke point oils such as canola, avocado, safflower, or peanut oil.
- To keep the temperature from plummeting, do not overcrowd the pan and fry in batches as needed. Heat the oil back to 350 F before adding the next batch.
How to serve
- Crispy tahong are delicious as an appetizer with your favorite drinks or as a main dish with steamed rice. Serve with spicy vinegar for dipping.
- These deep-fried mussels are best enjoyed freshly cooked as they lose their crunchiness over time and do not reheat.
- 2 pounds half-shell New Zealand mussels
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- canola oil
For Spicy Vinegar Dip
- 1 cup vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns, crushed
- 1 Thai chili pepper, finely chopped
- salt to taste
- Using a butter 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 the flour mixture to fully coat.
- In a pan over medium heat, heat about 2-inch deep of oil to 350 F.
- 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.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”