I spent Friday and Saturday with girl friends from law school and among the many dishes we enjoyed was a bowl of delectable corned beef sinigang at the Old Swiss Inn. Delicious soup plus delightful company and I thought I’d redo my old corned beef sinigang post and transpose it into recipe format and replace the old cooking tip.
Inspired by a comment from my daughter about a corned beef sinigang that she enjoyed at Sentro 1771, I cooked a home version — with homemade corned beef, of course. Amazing. I thought that cooking sinigang with the best broth was the ultimate key until I cooked corned beef sinigang.
It starts with good corned beef. Canned won’t work. You can buy corned beef in deli stores, some offer fully cooked and ready to eat corned beef while others sell fully brined meat that still needs hours of simmering. You can get either kind or you can make your own corned beef at home. All you need are some basic ingredients, space in the fridge and patience. It takes at least six days for the meat to absorb all the flavors of the brine. I like to make corned beef with at least two kilos of beef brisket, and then I divide the corned beef into three to four portions to make different dishes.
If you use a boneless meat cut for your corned beef, you will need bone broth to make good sinigang. The flavors from the brined meat won’t be enough to make a flavorful broth (see instructions for making bone broth). Some meat vendors give away bones as scrap; others sell them very cheaply. Like corned beef, bone broth can be prepared in bulk. Make a huge pot of broth, pour the cooled broth into several containers, freeze and thaw the amount you need for whatever dish you’re cooking. Frozen bone broth lasts for several weeks.
Once you have your corned beef and bone broth, cook sinigang as you ordinarily would. I know it sounds like a lot of work and waiting to make sinigang but combining corned beef with bone broth simply transforms such a humble and ordinary soup into a gourmet delight.
Corned Beef Sinigang
- 700 to 800 grams homemade corned beef (uncooked) cut into 2 to 3 inch cubes
- 4 cloves garlic crushed and peeled
- 1 onion peeled and finely sliced
- 2 large tomatoes diced
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 8 cups bone broth
- 3 finger chilies
- 2 eggplants cut into wedges
- 1 taro peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 bunch kangkong (swamp spinach)
- 100 to 150 grams fresh tamarind boiled in 2 cups water until mushy
- patis (fish sauce) to taste
- Heat the cooking oil in a pot. Saute the garlic, onion and tomatoes until they start to soften.
- Add the corned beef cubes. Cook, stirring, until the meat changes color.
- Pour in the bone broth. Add the finger chilies. Season with patis. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for two to two and a half hours, or until the beef is tender.
- About 20 minutes before the beef is done, add the taro wedges.
- Meanwhile, place a fine sieve over a bowl. Pour in the tamarind with the boiling water. Press the boiled tamarinds through a fine sieve to get the juice and as much of the pulp as you can. For a more detailed tutorial (and more illustrative photos), click here to view how to extract tamarind juice.
- About ten minutes after adding the taro (gabi) to the pot, add the eggplant wedges.
- When the eggplants are almost done, pour in the tamarind extract and add the kangkong to the pot, pressing the kangkong down gently into the broth. Let boil for five minutes. Taste the broth and add more patis if necessary.
- Serve the corned beef sinigang hot.