When we hear the word soup, more often than not, comfort is the first word that will pop into our minds, right? That feeling of being in your room on a cold, rainy morning, you’re all wrapped in a blanket while sipping that warm bowl of home-cooked soup.
The warmth in every spoonful brings us back to our childhood days, days when everything was more uncomplicated: days when we were careless about the world. That’s the magic of food, especially cuisines that we grew up eating with. Not only does it nourish the soul, but it also warms our hearts.
That is precisely what our featured dish is all about: a soup dish that will remind you of days gone by. Nostalgia in every bowl is the promise of this recipe, and we believe that you can really relate to this recipe.
So let us go ahead and share with you all the things that you need to know on how to cook this nostalgic dish and share and enjoy the flavors of the best Suam na Tahong Seafood Recipe.
What is Suam Na Tahong
The Philippines is an archipelagic country: meaning our nation is composed of thousands of islands, so we are surrounded by bodies of water that are teeming with aquatic life. For this reason, many Filipinos rely on the sea and ocean for food and source of livelihood.
And since the whole nation is rich in aquatic life, it is only natural that most of the dishes that many of us grew up loving are centered on seafood, especially those who grew up in coastal provinces. One of the many kinds of seafood that Filipino fishers cultivate is mussels: a type of shellfish that grows in saltwater and freshwater environments.
The mussels’ shell is elongated and dark green to purplish in color, which sets it aside from the other shellfish that we are familiar with. The flesh is orange in color with dark markings along its outer side.
Suam or chowder is the preferred cooking for this shellfish as it has a very mild-tasting flavor that highlights the natural sweetness of the mussels. The aromatics like ginger and garlic used to saute the dish give that fragrant aroma that really touches your soul and makes you crave more of it, especially during the rainy season.
Suam na Tahong or Mussels Chowder may be simple, yet it’s flavor is sure to tickle not just your tastebuds but your heart as well.
Ways to Cook
The main selling point of Suam na Tahong is its simplicity and versatility, a trait that is commonly found in Filipino cuisine. But simplicity does not necessarily mean that this dish is a one-trick pony recipe.
With the advancement in culinary technology, this humble soup can also be cooked using modern kitchen appliances that you may have at home. So for starters, here are some of the ways that you can cook this recipe at home.
Ahh, the convenience and ease that is Instant Pot. This one of a kind kitchen equipment can do the functions of many other kitchen equipments with just a click of a button. You can use it to saute, steam, slow cook, and even steam rice: talk about functionality.
With all these functions, the instant pot is definitely the right choice for cooking Suam na Tahong since you can use the pot to saute your aromatics and finish off the dish in the same pot by merely clicking the correct setting for the needed cooking function.
Start off by sauteing the aromatics by selecting the saute function: then proceed as the recipe says. Once all the flavors are incorporated adequately, that’s the time that you change the setting to simmer or cook and allow the flavors to draw out and mix in with the broth.
The good thing about instant pot is that you can do other things at home without being preoccupied with just watching over whatever it is you’re cooking. Just select the right buttons and let the Instant Pot do the cooking of Suam na Tahong for you.
A stovetop is a generic term for burners: may it be electric or the traditional LPG-powered burners. Both use direct heat for cooking, coming from below, which is the heat source for the burners.
The good thing about stovetop cooking is that most Filipino households still use them and rely on them heavily for everyday cooking. They do not need fancy settings: just a flick of the dial for the recommended temperature for whatever you’re cooking.
Use whatever cooking pot or cookware you have at home: just make sure that it will be able to hold a fair amount of liquid since we are cooking Suam na Tahong, which is basically a chowder. The cooking process is straightforward: saute the aromatics first to draw out their flavors, then put in the rest of the ingredients and the broth.
And since you’re using direct heat, the cooking time is relatively quick.
Other Delicious Variants and Tahong Recipes
Suam na Tahong is basically a chowder in its core: that being said, the variations and innovations that can be made for it are practically endless. One only needs to be creative enough to make the variant that will capture one’s liking.
For starters, we made a list of variants of Suam na Tahong that you can try at home. And from there, you can make your version of it.
Corn Soup Mussels Suwam
Most of us are familiar with corn soup: some might even be a fan of the powdered form of it, wherein you simply have to empty the sachet in boiling water, and you’re good to go. But then again, the flavors are not that close compared to making the corn soup from scratch.
And as we have said, Suam na Tahong is a very versatile dish, and for that added texture and sweetness, we can definitely add in sweet corn kernels. This gives the chowder a more profound and more complex flavor profile.
The process is the same as the one indicated in the recipe, and the only significant difference is the addition of the sweet corn kernels. You can use the canned variety. However, we suggest that you opt-in for the fresh ones for fuller flavors.
Buttered Mussels Suwam
Butter makes everything taste better: the richness and savor it adds to food makes it an excellent addition to any dish, may it be savory, fried, and yes, you read it right, you can add butter to up the ante of soups.
This dairy goodness adds that creamy layer of flavor and adds richness to the overall taste of any cuisine that it is added into. It also masks the unpleasant smell of ingredients, making them more palatable.
Use the butter as a replacement for the cooking oil when sauteing the aromatics and the rest of the ingredients. This way, you can draw out all the goodness and the richness of the butter.
Spicy Suam na Tahong
Rainy season in the Philippines comprises almost half of the year, and rainy days call for a warm bowl of soup: and at times, a kick of spice makes the soup even better. And this is what this variant is about, a soup with a kick of heat.
The mild-tasting flavors of the Suam na Tahong are taken up a notch by the hint of spiciness that is brought by your choice of chilies. You can use green chili fingers for milder heat: but if you want that in-your-face kind of heat, you can opt-in for the red chilies. Again it’s all up to your liking.
You can mix in the chopped chilies with the aromatics for a stronger concentration of flavor and heat while sauteing. Or you can add them in at the last part of the cooking process if you’re not a big fan of really spicy foods.
Mussels are rich in Vitamins B and C, amino acids and omega-three fatty acids, and bodybuilding minerals such as iron, phosphorus, and zinc. So do not belittle this shellfish though they may be unassuming in appearance: these seashells are nutrient-packed inside those shells.
And these shellfishes have been cultivated as a source of food for over a thousand years already, making them one of the oldest cultivated food sources in the world.
We also included tips on how you can cook Suam na Tahong better. These time-tested tips are sure to make a better cook in the kitchen.
- When choosing which mussels to buy, always go for the one that smells like the ocean: the salty and clean smell is an indicator of freshness. Forgo the funky-smelling mussels.
- Another indicator is the shell: go for mussels whose shells are tightly closed.
- Use a generous amount of ginger for sauteing; this masks the mussels’ fishy smell and adds a hint of spice to the broth.
Do not fret when you encounter troubles when cooking Suam na Tahong. We got you covered, and we have here steps that can help you remedy your culinary dilemma.
- If the broth is too salty, gradually add water to balance out the saltiness.
- Add fish sauce if the broth is lackluster in flavor: this adds a deeper flavor and highlights the mussels’, natural sweetness.
Best Serve With
Cold weather calls for a warm bowl of a hearty and filling soup, and Suam na Tahong is best enjoyed with other Filipino classic cuisines to complete your merienda experience.
The mild and slightly salty taste of the Suam na Tahong strikes a balance with the sweet and crispy Maruya. This banana fritter complements the overall flavor of the soup.
Crispy and tender simultaneously, this all-time favorite pork recipe really goes well with the mild-tasting broth of the Suam na Tahong. This is a guaranteed feast in your mouth.
This flavorful rice recipe is what will match the mild-tasting goodness of our featured recipe. Java rice is known to burst with flavors and aroma, a stark yet complementing contrast to the mussel chowder.
Nostalgic dishes are always an excellent addition to anyone’s culinary arsenal, especially if we grew up enjoying them. Nothing beats the feeling of being able to cook dishes that we once enjoyed when we were younger. And that is our goal for sharing with you the information about cooking Suam na Tahong: to help you appreciate the good old days through food.
And by now, we know that you are equipped to cook this classic seafood chowder at home. So until next time, happy cooking.
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
Best Suwam Na Tahong
- 1 kg Mussels
- 2 thumbs Ginger cut into strips
- 1 pc Onion big and cut into strips
- 4 cloves Garlic cut into strips
- 3 cups Water
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup Cayenne pepper leaves
- 2 tbsp Oil
- Heat oil in a pot, saute garlic until golden brown, add onion and ginger, saute until mixture softened.
- Toss in fresh mussels and season it with salt and ground black pepper. Mix well and cover. Cook for 3 minutes.
- After 3 minutes, pour the water into the pot, and then add cayenne pepper leaves.
- Cover and boil for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stir the mixture.
- Serve hot and enjoy!