As I’ve mentioned, Sinigang is on of my favorite Filipino dishes. Sinigang is a pork stew with vegetables. It has a tangy and sour soup base made from tamarind powder, at least in my version. It is commonly cooked with pork, beef, shrimp or fish in my household.
Cooking this dish is really easy. Like most stews, you just throw everything into a pot and let it simmer until it’s cooked. The flavor comes from the mix of different vegetables, the tamarind powder, and patis — or fish sauce. Fish sauce is a common ingredient in most southeast Asian cuisines, like Thai, Vietnamese, and of course, Filipino. We use it to flavor pretty much everything because patis is salty and sour, so it enhances those flavors in the dishes. Disclaimer: Patis is NOT super healthy. It is not to be used heavily because it is extremely salty.
What vegetables go into the pork stew varies with every Filipino iteration. I like to use eddo root, Chinese eggplant, tomatoes, long green beans, okra, and watercress. Each vegetable provides a nice balance of textures and flavors. Not to mention it makes the dish look colorful and pretty! As for tamarind, you can either use the fruit itself or a powder version, like I do. I use the Knorr Tamarind Soup Mix made for Sinigang or Sinampalukan, a Chicken soup dish similar to Sinigang. I get mine at my local international supermarkets but if you don’t have that option available to you, you could order it online. The same goes for the fish sauce.
Like I said, this is a really simple dish to make. Where you’ll have a little bit of a problem is during the prep. This is not a great dish if you’re going for a quick grocery trip and an even quicker prep time. Because there’s so many vegetables, you do have to take time to wash and cut each vegetable before adding them to the stew. My suggestion is that you prep all the veggies at once before cooking because it is really great for a more relaxed cooking session. You just have to keep an eye on it and make sure the vegetables don’t over-boil and as such, overcook. But you can do that from the comfort of your dining table! Either way, it’s still a really easy and simple dish. And it’s delicious. I mean, did I mention that IT’S ONE OF MY FAVORITES?!
How do other Filipinos prepare their sinigang? Let me know if mine even compares! In my biased opinion, it really really does.
Sinigang: Filipino Pork Stew
- 1 lb pork shoulder cubed
- 1/2 lb pork belly, with fat cubed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 medium eddo root (alt: taro root) peeled and halved
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 pouch Knorr Tamarind Soup Base
- 3-4 small tomatoes chopped
- 25 pcs okra tips cut off
- 1 bunch long beans cut into thirds without ends
- 4 medium Chinese eggplants cut into thirds without ends
- 2 bunches watercress
- 1-2 tsp fish sauce
Cut pork shoulder and pork bellies. Season with salt and pepper. Add them to a soup pot.
Peel and cut the eddo root. Add them to the soup pot with the meat. Cover the meat at least halfway with water. Bring to a boil for at least 15 minutes, or until the eddo root is soft.
Bring the heat to medium and add the tamarind soup base. Mix and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the vegetables, starting with the tomatoes one at a time. Do not add the watercress yet. Mix after you add the vegetables. Let it simmer in between.
Let the vegetables cook until done, about 10 minutes. Do not let them overcook! Once you are nearly finished, add the patis (fish sauce) until you reach your desired taste. Add a little extra because the watercress will soak in some of the saltiness.
Add the watercress and mix to incorporate. Turn off the heat. Serve with rice!