Sinigang: A Filipino Cold Weather Favorite
It's gotten so much colder over the past couple weeks here in New York City, and it's been hitting especially hard when out about campus. There are tons of cold-weather remedies that we can turn to, like coffee or tea, but a cold-weather remedy that I can really get behind is soup -- one of my favorite dishes growing up was (and still is) Sinigang (pronounced sin-ee-gung). It's a tamarind-based soup that is famous for being sour, but not too sour. It's delicious and something I've made for my friends here at NYU. My grandmother has always made it for my family and now I'd like to share how I've made it, right here in my very tiny dorm kitchen.
What you'll need:
Pork Spareribs -- I got a pack for around $10 at the H-Mart in front of Alumni Hall
1 Large, White Onion -- cut the onion into small pieces, but don't dice them
1 Tomato -- cut the tomato into small pieces, but don't dice them
2 Pieces of Gabi -- Look for 'Eddo' at H-Mart in the produce section (see below for what it looks like prepared; you'll need to take the skin off before cooking them)
1 Pack of Spinach
1 Packet of Mama Sita's Sinigang Mix -- This is what gives the tamarind flavor, without needing the tamarind itself. It makes this dish a bit easier to make in the dorms, since it packs a punch of flavor and eliminates an extra step. There's a Filipino-Store on Avenue A near the Target on 14th street called 'Johnny Air Mart' where I go to buy my Filipino-food needs. This is what the packet looks like:
Rice -- This is optional, and there's no specific amount you'll need, it's just what most Filipino dishes are served with. I got a 3-pack of microwavable rice from H-Mart as well.
1, Once you have all of these ingredients, you're set -- start by filling up a pot with 1 liter of water (it''ll determine how much soup you have in the end, so it's really up to you). Then, heat it on medium. Boil your spareribs. This is where the bulk of the time goes when making this dish, in order to make sure that the meat is soft. Depending on your stove, the time for the spareribs to be soft varies, so be sure to check on it periodically.
2. Once the spareribs are soft enough, get your sliced onions and tomatoes and add them into the same pot. Let them all sit together so the flavors can get familiar with one another, and also so the spareribs can continue to cook even more in that broth.
3. Once the spareribs are soft, pour in the Mama Sita's Sinigang Mix. Add to taste. I used the entire packet but again, it will depend on how much water you initially added.
4. Stir your spareribs, onions, tomatoes and mix together. Lower your heat and wait 3-5 minutes.
5. Next, add in spinach. Then, add in the gabi / eddo -- once you get your serving, you can 'mash' the pieces as they soften which will give the soup a creamier consistency.
Add in rice if needed, and you're ready to combat the cold (before putting on any and all winter coats, gloves, and scarves, of course). Make sure to store any leftovers in the refrigerator in a container.