A good translation for pork sinigang is “Filipino pork and vegetables in tamarind broth” but it doesn’t completely capture the essence of this sour dish. Although tamarind is the most popular, and common, ingredient for flavoring sinigang, other fruits like kamias may be used. When cooking sinigang with seafood instead of meat, bayabas (guava) is the souring agent of choice.
When cooking sinigang with pork (or beef), choose a cut with bones because it is the bones that make the broth rich and full-bodied. Pork tail is usual but you can also use ribs or even belly with bones.
There are many vegetables that can go into a pot of pork sinigang. Kangkong (water/swamp spinach), sitaw (yard-long beans), talong (eggplants), okra and gabi (taro) are traditional. Add all of them or some of them, it’s really your choice. For tonight’s sinigang, I used kangkong, talong and gabi.
For my family, pork sinigang is comfort food all the way.
- 700 grams pork chopped 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
- 3 finger chilis
- 2 eggplants cut into wedges
- 1 taro peeled and cut into wedges
- a bunch of kangkong cut up
- 100 to 150 grams fresh tamarind boiled in 2 c. of 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 pork cubes. Cook, stirring, until the meat changes color.
Pour in enough water to cover. Add the finger chilis. Season with patis. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half, or until the pork is tender.
About 20 minutes before the pork 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, add the kangkong to the pot, pressing them down gently into the broth. Let boil for five minutes. Taste the broth and add more patis if necessary.
Serve the soup hot.