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Ginataan na Tahong

Mussels in Coconut Milk & Turmeric

There are 2 things that are abundant in Philippines and goes together, no not chicken joy & Filipino spaghetti, I’m talking about coconut and shellfish! This dish is so tasty and fresh you would want to lick your bowl clean.

When I was growing up in the Philippines, my mother’s Barrio is 8 minutes away from the river and my father & I with my sister goes to the river for a swim. While my sister and I swam, my father with his fishing gun & goggles would dive in the river looking for cat fish. We probably spent about 4-6 hours swimming and by the time we finished swimming my father would have caught 3/4 catfish and we would head home to get our dinner ready.

This is the actual river where we went for a swim, I washed I clothes here and we something cook here too! I remember it being more rocky and less green because I remember drying our washed clothes on the rocks.

We all showered, dried and clothed. I watch my father prepare the catfish clean, I help him chopped the onions and other small ingredients. As I watch him cooked, already tired after a long swim in the river and tummy rumbling I never thought I will be in another country recreating his recipes using mussels. As I couldn’t locally get any catfish, mussels are a lot easier to get hold of and it’s affordable so this was a fantastic alternative for me. You can experiment with other shellfish or fish too! I would normally eat this with rice but you can also eat this with boiled potatoes or chips if you like. Every time I make this I always eat ‘kamayan’ with my hands and no cutlery.

I hope you enjoy this dish, don’t forget to tag me @foodwithmae on your instagram photos and videos!



700g-1kg fresh mussels, cleaned
1 can of coconut milk
1 medium onion, minced
3-4 pieces of fresh turmeric, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoon fish sauce
a pinch of black pepper
1 tablespoon cooking oil
4 stem spring onions, chopped, optional
2 chillies, roughly chopped, optional
Coriander, optional



In a large pot heat the oil and sauté onions, garlic and turmeric for 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, fish sauce and black pepper and bring it to boil. Taste the sauce, add more fish sauce if you like.


Add the mussels, place the lid and cook for 15-20 minutes or until all of the mussel are open. Stir occasionally to cook all the mussels evenly. Turn the heat off and place the mussels into a serving plate. Garnish with chopped spring onions and chillies before serving. This dish goes well with some jasmine rice or boiled potatoes.

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