September 6, 2019 9:00 am
When it comes to timeless and easy to cook ulam recipes, nothing beats the refreshing, unique, and sour taste of Sinigang. According to Doreen Fernandez, a cultural historian and renowned food writer, it is a dish that is “most representative of Filipino taste.
Sinigang is believed to be coined after the term “Sinaing” or “cooked rice”, wherein the rice washing is used as the liquid base of the broth. With its slightly sour broth where meat and vegetables swim bountifully, Filipinos wholeheartedly enjoy this classic comfort food that is so adaptable to different meat flavors (pork, chicken, shrimp, milkfish, etc.).
This dish, in its simplest form, also gives empty stomachs a satisfyingly hot filling. Be it rainy or sunny, people tend to ask for a sour soup that excites their palates. When prepared with expensive meat or seafood, Sinigang paves its way to the elite tables of aristocrats. Sinigang, simple and multifaceted, is enjoyed by Filipinos from all walks of life.
The Sinigang Template
Heirloom Sinigang recipes call for rice-washing as the base of the Sinigang broth. This gives the soup a deeper taste compared to only using water. Starch from the rice also helps to lightly thicken up the soup.
Depending on the region where Sinigang is cooked, souring agents vary. Souring agents include sampalok, bayabas, kamias, calamansi, and many other types of regional produce.
Since Sinigang is such a versatile dish, almost all types of meat, fish, and seafood can adapt to its overall distinct taste. Achieving the most ideal pairing of meat and souring ingredients is the key to a perfect Sinigang.
Basic vegetables included in a Sinigang are overripe tomatoes, red onion, kangkong, string beans, eggplant, and okra. Regional versions of Sinigang incorporate other vegetables that are locally grown.
The Philippines is dubbed as a ‘Sawsawan Nation’, and Sinigang is one of the many dishes that is typically accompanied with a certain sauce. Patis (Fish Sauce) is usually served with Sinigang to add umami and a little salty profile to the sour broth. Some people even add crushed chilies to add a little kick of spice to the dish.
Feeling hungry for more classic Pinoy ulam recipes? Stay tuned for more food thoughts from our L ocal food culture O n- L ine A ssistant.
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