Sinigang is a sour soup native to the Philippines. This recipe uses pork as the main ingredient. Other proteins and seafood can also be used. Beef, shrimp, fish are commonly used to cook sinigang. The chicken version, on the other hand, is called sinampalukang manok. I prefer to use either pork belly or buto-buto when cooking sinigang. The latter refers to cuts with bones intact. These are either pork neck bones, chopped spare ribs, and chopped baby back ribs. Pork shoulder and ham can also be used when cooking sinigang.
The quality of this dish depends on the souring agent. This is the ingredient that makes the soup sour. The most common and widely used is unripe tamarind. It is known as sampaloc in the Philippines. Other fruits such as guava, tomato, bilimbi or kamias, green mango, pineapple, and wild mangosteen or santol can be used to make the sinigang taste sour.
I grew-up eating pork sinigang at least once a week with a saucer of fish sauce and crushed siling labuyo on the side as my dipping sauce. During rainy days, I enjoy my sinigang meal with rice and a few pieces of fried tuyo. These are small fish that were salted and dried under the sun. It is a good combination as far as I am concerned.
How to Cook Sinigang
Pork Sinigang is delicious and easy to prepare. Note that this recipe will require to saute the onion and pork. Start by heating cooking oil in a cooking pot. Saute the onion until it gets soft. Add the sliced pork. We are using pork belly (or liempo) for this recipe. You may also use other pork slices such as shoulders or parts with bones. Add some fish sauce and continue to cook until the pork turns light brown.
It is time to add the liquid. This recipe calls for water. You may want to use half water and half beef broth if you prefer your sinigang to be really flavorful. Let the liquid boil and then add the tomato and taro (gabi). The tomato needs to blend in with the broth while the taro will need to cook for a longer time so that it will start to release starch that will make the soup thicker.
The souring agent for this recipe is a tamarind soup base mix, which is more popularly known as sinigang mix. This is a quicker alternative to fresh tamarind and it will save you time. Add the mix once meat is tender. Add some long green chili, if desired. This will make your soup spicy good. Add the rest of the vegetables towards the last few minutes. Make sure to add the spinach last.
This is best served with a condiment composed of fish sauce and lots of hot chili pepper.
Sinigang Alternative Ingredients
This sinigang version makes use of pork belly. Any cuts of pork can be used to make it. Beef and fish can also be utilized.
I am using spinach in this recipe. It is actually an alternative ingredient to kangkong (water spinach), which is the most common type of leafy green vegetable used when cooking sinigang.
Sinigang mix is a powdered product that helps bring-in that good sour taste to sinigang. Old school methods requires boiling either fresh young tamarind or bilimbi for a long time until the flavors are extracted. It is your choice. It is a no-brainer, so I chose flavor and convenience.
Tips in Cooking Pork Sinigang
Make sure to cook the pork until very tender. I really mean it. You don’t want to challenge yourself by chewing the meat with all your might while the nice hot broth slowly cools down. Otherwise, enjoy the broth first before working on the meat.
Onion and tomato brings-in flavor to the broth. Cook it during the initial steps. Some people like their tomato intact. If you are one of these people, I suggest to cook half of the tomato initially and add the remaining once the dish is almost done.
You can still make sinigang even without all the vegetable in the list. All you need is pork, green leafy veggies, and the souring agent. Of course, water is essential for this recipe.
Busy people can use a slow cooker to cook sinigang. Make sure to add the spinach or kangkong only when you are about to eat. It is best to have these fresh.
Try this Filipino Pork Sinigang Recipe. Let me know what you think. We can share ideas and let our opinions be heard by posting a comment.
Pork Sinigang Recipe
- 2 lbs pork belly or buto-buto
- 1 bunch spinach or kang-kong
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 12 pieces string beans sitaw, cut in 2 inch length
- 2 pieces tomato quartered
- 3 pieces chili or banana pepper
- 1 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 quarts water
- 1 piece onion sliced
- 2 pieces taro gabi, quartered
- 1 pack sinigang mix good for 2 liters water
- Heat the pot and put-in the cooking oil
- Sauté the onion until its layers separate from each other
- Add the pork belly and cook until outer part turns light brown
- Put-in the fish sauce and mix with the ingredients
- Pour the water and bring to a boil
- Add the taro and tomatoes then simmer for 40 minutes or until pork is tender
- Put-in the sinigang mix and chili
- Add the string beans (and other vegetables if there are any) and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes
- Put-in the spinach, turn off the heat, and cover the pot. Let the spinach cook using the remaining heat in the pot.
- Serve hot. Share and enjoy!