One of the many legacies of Spanish colonization is the wide presence of spicy gambas in our local cuisine. Like Spanish tapas, gambas cooked in generous amounts of garlic and chili peppers are also popularly served as “pulutan” or appetizers at our social gatherings and bar scenes.
This spicy tahong is a spin-off of my favorite Filipino-style spicy gambas recipe, using shelled mussels in place of the more expensive prawns. In fact, this recipe is super flexible you can substitute squid or bay scallops with ease. Robust with garlic and spices, it is the perfect accompaniment to party drinks yet equally wonderful paired with crusty bread or spooned over steamed rice. Ahhh, the garlicky pan juices. Delicious, my friends, just delicious.
- 2 pounds mussels, shelled and drained well
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 head garlic, peeled and minced
- 6 to 7 Thai chili peppers, stemmed and minced
- 1 small onion, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 small bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
- ¼ cup tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry (or Chinese cooking wine)
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a wide pan over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add garlic and chili peppers and cook, stirring regularly, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Increase the heat to high. Add onions and bell pepper and cook, stirring regularly, for about 1 minute or until tender yet crisp. Add mussels and continue to cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce and wine. Continue to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.