Pork Sinigang, also called Sinigang na Baboy, is a traditional Filipino soup dish known for its sour flavor. By tradition, the souring ingredient of this dish comes from a tamarind fruit. Through time, this souring ingredient diversed and instead of using tamarind, guava, calamansi, bilimbi (kamias), unripe green mango, or santol can also be used. Today, a popular powdered sour-soup based ingredient called the "Sinigang Mix" is commonly used. This Sinigang Mix powder is as popular as it is commonly available in most Filipino stores and supermarkets. It comes, popularly, in tamarind and guava flavor.
Sinigang is an indigenous Filipino dish believed to have been influenced by Philippine's neighboring countries. In fact, Sinigang resembles that of the sour soup based cuisine of other Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia's "Singgang", Indonesia's "Sayur Asam", Thailand's "Tom Yum", and "Canh Chua" of Vietnam.
Pork Sinigang also resembles other Filipino soup sour dish called Sinampalokan or Sinampalokan na Manok. The difference of the two dishes, aside from their ingredients, are the ways they are cooked. While Sinampalokan uses the cooking method of "sautéing" and "boiling", the authentic and traditional method of cooking Pork Sinigang is "boiling". In Sinampalokan, the meat (traditionally chicken) is first sautéed in ginger before boiling and in Sinigang, the meat is simply boiled with the other ingredients. Sinampalokan solely uses tamarind souring based ingredient like tamarind fruit and leaves, while Sinigang has options to use various kinds of souring ingredients such as guava, santol, or mango.
The common vegetable ingredients of Pork Sinigang are tomato, onion, garlic, water spinach, radish, taro, eggplant (talong), daikon (labanos), long chilli pepper and string beans. Other variations include using fish (tilapia, milkfish, or salmon), shrimp, beef, or goat as substitute for pork and bok choy, cabbage, brocolli, potato, carrot as alternative vegetable ingredients. Another variation of Pork Sinigang is the "Sinigang na Miso" which include the use of Japanese seasoning composed of fermented rice and barley or soy beans.
One of the secrets of cooking a delicious Sinigang na Baboy is to inlcude the bones of the pig (e.g. pork belly with rib bones, pork neck with bones, baby back ribs, and other bony parts) because bones add more flavor to the broth. The cooking method is to first boil the pork to tenderize. Add the souring ingredient, giving time for the meat to absorb the sour flavor of the broth. Add the vegetables and those that are longer to cook should be the first to be added.
Pork Sinigang Ingredients
- 2 lbs pork liempo; cut 2 inches chunks
- 1 package tamarind sinigang soup mix
- 1 tomato; quartered
- 1 onion; quartered
- 1 taro; quartered
- 3-4 long green chili peppers (siling haba)
- 1 medium size radish (labanos); sliced
- 3 string beans (sitaw), cut in 2 inches long
- 1 eggplant; sliced
- 10 stems of kangkong leaves
- Fish sauce to taste
Pork Sinigang Cooking Instructions
- Boil water in a pot.
- Add the pork liempo, tomato, onion, and tamarind sinigang soup mix.
- Cover the pot and boil until the meat is tender.
- Add the long chili pepper, radish, taro, string beans, and eggplant.
- Cover the pot and continue boiling until the vegetables are cooked.
- Add the kangkong leaves and simmer until the dish is done.
- Serve while hot!