May 7, 2012

cooking in Manila (a late post)

When I spent sometime in Manila in 2011, I had many opportunities to cook with local ingredients from the big public market in our town. The green leaf vegetable (shown above) is called kangkong and it's an indispensable ingredient in this Filipino soup favorite called sinigang. It's a soup which can be made with fish, shrimp, pork or beef short ribs and traditionally flavored with the sour pulp and juice of fresh tamarind (cooked in a little water until tender then pressed to release the pulp and juice). Although other tart citrus or fruits (like guava or kamias) may be used for this soup, I would say using tamarind is quite popular. For convenience, there's also an option to use packaged instant sinigang mixes but fresh ingredients are always better.


Sinigang na hipon or shrimp sinigang is a simple soup that doesn't take long to cook. Fill a small pot with about 2-3 cups of water (some Filipinos prefer to cook this soup with the water that was used to wash rice but just make sure to use the water from the 2nd or 3rd wash) then add quartered fresh tomatoes and onions. Bring this to a boil and simmer. Add the fresh shrimp preferably with the heads and shells. Pour in the tamarind pulp and juice then season with a little fish sauce or salt. Wash and cut up the kangkong (thinly sliced radishes may also be added) then add to the broth. Finally, add the chili peppers and continue to simmer until the shrimp are fully cooked. Serve with steamed rice.

chili peppers from the city public market

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