Among the popular dishes in Philippine cuisine, “Sinigang” is one of the easiest to prepare. The pungent taste of this soup leaves a very distinct gustatory sensation in everyone’s tongue . What I love about this delicacy is that it does not only give a refreshing feeling (especially when consumed during summer or on a humid day-part), but also contains a lot of nutritional values. In one informational advertisement that I’ve watched, I learned that the tamarind, which is normally the main ingredient that brings sour taste to Sinigang, is rich in anti-oxidant properties which can lower risk of heart attack and cancer. It is also a very good source of Calcium, Vitamin B., Riboflavin, Niacin and Thiamine. Wow! Who said that healthy foods couldn’t be so delicious?
Vegetables that are frequently used in Sinigang are gabi(taro corms), kangkong (water spinach) and okra. For some, they prefer Chinese cabbage to complete it. Others use radish for additional flavour. Needless to say, there are no limits to veggies or any other ingredient when cooking Sinigang. It is only up to one’s taste preference. Variations of this dish may include beef, fish, chicken or even shrimp in it. However, in this tutorial, I will teach you how to cook my favourite variant, the Pork Sinigang.
2 kg Pork Belly/ Pork Chops/ Mixed
2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
3 pcs Tomato, cut into halves
1 bunch of spinach or kangkong
1 bunch of Chinese cabbage or pechay
4 pcs long green pepper (medium sized)
1 white onion, sliced
2 pcs taro or gabi, cut into halves
1 pack sinigang mix
7 cups of water
1 teaspoon cooking oil
1. Using a little oil, sauté onions in a pot until they turn translucent.
2. Gently add the meat and wait until it turns slightly brown in colour. (Tip: Most Filipinos prefer bony parts of pork or what we call “buto-buto”, cause it makes the soup more flavorful)
3. Pour the water and bring to boil until rolling bubbles appear. Season with fish sauce or salt, whichever you prefer.
4. Put-in the sinigang mix. If you are not fond of using instant premix, you may opt to get fresh tamarind fruit, 8-10 pcs would do.
5. Add the tomatoes, taro and green pepper and simmer for about 40-45 minutes.
6. When meat becomes tender, put-in the spinach and Chinese Cabbage, cover the pot and turn off the flame. Vegetables are best served when half-cooked. This way, they would not appear soggy and retain its nutritional contents as well.
7. Serve hot and enjoy! Perfect with plain rice and chili soy sauce on the side!=)