I love sinigang. It’s an easy, hearty, and comforting dish. A delicious concoction of meat and vegetables stewed in a sour broth, sinigang is a classic Filipino favorite. I made my way to the Asian store to get the produce needed for sinigang. I could have easily substituted the “western” versions of some of the vegetables (i.e. using green beans instead of the Asian long beans or using regular spinach instead of kangkong or water spinach), but it just won’t be the same sinigang I grew up fondly eating. I’m happy to have gathered the vegetables I set to find. As for the meat, you can use either seafood, beef, or pork; I opted for pork.
Onto how I made this easy one-pot dish.
- 1 1/2 – 2 lbs pork cut into serving pieces (about 2″)
- 1 bunch kangkong or water spinach
- 3 tbsp fish sauce (patis)
- 1 bunch string beans (sitaw), cut in 1.5 – 2″ length
- 2 pieces medium sized tomato, quartered
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- water, about 2 liters
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 pieces taro (gabi), quartered
- 5-6 pieces ok okra, sliced
- 1 medium radish (labanos), sliced
- 1 pack sinigang mix (good for 2 liters water)
Prep your ingredients. Lots of washing and chopping here. Heat the pot with cooking oil. Saute the onion until fragrant and it becomes translucent.Add the pork and stir until the color changes from pink to light brown on all sides. Add the fish sauce.Add the water and bring to a boil.Add the tomatoes and taro (gabi). Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the pork is tender. *Note I should have added the radish (labanos) with the taro and tomatoes; I added it later in the cooking process and it wasn’t as tender. Stir in the sinigang mix and simmer for about 15 minutes. To be honest, I haven’t tried cooking sinigang with fresh tamarind, even while I was in the Philippines. My parents were using this sinigang mix for as long as I can remember. That doesn’t make this dish any less authentic; it just makes it easier to prepare and more accessible. It’s quite in the same vein as how the Japanese use instant curry roux to cook their popular and well-loved Japanese curry instead of making the curry mix from scratch. Add the Asian long beans (sitaw) and okra. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes. Add the water spinach (kangkong) and stir. Turn off the heat, and cover the pot. The residual heat will cook the water spinach. Serve with rice, and enjoy! As you can tell, this dish is very simple to prepare; it’s all about adding everything into one pot one (or two) ingredient at a time and letting them simmer. And with the aid of the sinigang mix, you can effortlessly achieve the tasty tamarind flavor.
I would have added siling pansigang (or banana peppers), but I couldn’t find them at the store. It was still delicious nonetheless. Each bite easily brought me back home :’)