How sour can you go?
Ever heard of a dish that can make your face cringe and then others’ mouth water?
Cooking has a big part in our lives as Pinoys. From the moment we hit kindergarten, we have always been interested what our mother is brewing behind the kitchen. Most of the time, the food that’s been placed on our tables, embed in our memories as children. Nothing, and I mean nothing, comes closer to this than Sinigang.
Sinigang is famous for its sour and savoury taste. The acerbic taste comes from either a small bag pouch of flavoring, tamarind or even fruits!
The beauty with this dish is that this defies the conventional Pinoy taste which always has this hint of sweetness. This has been the signature Pinoy smack. Look at most of our dishes: Menudo, Afritada, Pinoy Spaghetti and even our famous Banana Ketchup! Everything has been altered to a certain degree of sweetness.
Sinigang is a stew based from the tagalog verb, Sigang which means to stew. The dish is most often served with meat. However, the most commonly used is pork and fish in the areas of the Metro. Though the taste definitely varies with the meat used, the texture of the soup changes along with the different ingredients used. The variation of the dish comes with 2 factors, the meat used and the main ingredient spent for its signature sour taste.
Pinoys use sampaloc to achieve this nirvana. Just like any other pinoy cuisine, it needs an ‘exclamation mark’ at the end thus the use of green long peppers, just to match that ravenousness you feel. Pinoys cook this using different meat like fish, pork, beef or even shrimp! Some even serve this with no meat at all but the full experience of the sinigang cannot be enjoyed without the meat.
Regardless if it’s sunny or pouring out though the sour-spicy flavor of the dish is best served hot on a cold rainy day. This fare has been considered staple for our tropical country.
Variety ba kamo? (Variety you say?)
Some of the few restaurants that serve this dish often use various ways to accomplish the sour flavor for the dish; they use unripe mango, calamansi, santol or even kamias! And then I encountered this sinigang which had watermelon in it! The watery substance of the fruit balances the salty and sour taste of the broth. It was HEAVENLY!
However, my grandfather had his own way of cooking sinigang. I grew up poor so we had very little access to prime ingredients. He uses a whole bunch of tomatoes to achieve the acrid trait of the dish. With the pork’s texture brushing off and makes its way each of the tomatoes and the broth. It was enough to make your mouth water and grab that ladle!
A very tough dish to match if you ask me. The aftertaste does not go along well with other grub except for rice of course. Everything is better with Rice. Hahaha!