No meat, no seafood; just vegetables in a rich and tasty broth flavored with tamarind extract. And, for a surprising twist, vegetable dumplings. This is sinigang that vegetarians will love.
I cooked this sinigang for Sam a while back. The vegetable dumplings were store-bought (from the neighborhood Korean grocery). One reminder if you intend to make a similar dish — you have to serve the soup immediately because the dumplings turn soggy if left too long soaking in the broth. That’s one marked difference between dumplings with meat filling and dumplings with vegetable filling — meat will stay firm but vegetables will not.
For a truly vegan sinigang, use vegetable broth. It’s very easy to make. Just fill a pot with water, add vegetables, aromatics and seasonings, and simmer for at least 30 minutes then strain. What vegetables, aromatics and seasonings? I like to add carrots, celery, lemongrass stalks (especially good for sinigang), scallions, a whole onion, a few cloves of garlic, a few slices of ginger, salt and peppercorns. When you have your vegetable broth, proceed to cook the vegan sinigang.
For the souring agent, nothing beats fresh tamarind juice (see how to extract). If that’s too much work for you, there are convenient options. There are powdered mixes and prepared pastes. I’ve tried a lot and my conclusion is that sinigang paste is far superior to the powdered mixes. Mama Sita’s sinigang paste is the best that I’ve tried, so far (no this is not a paid post).
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 shallots thinly sliced
- 2 tomatoes diced
- 1 finger chili
- 3 to 4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 eggplant cut into wedges
- a bunch of kangkong (water / swamp spinach)
- other vegetables you can add: gabi (taro) wedges, sitaw (yard-long beans) and talbos ng kamote (sweet potato tops)
- tamarind extract
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 6 to 8 frozen vegetable dumplings
- Heat the cooking oil in a pot.
- Saute the garlic, shallots, tomatoes and finger chili until softened.
- Pour in the vegetable broth. Bring to the boil.
- Add the vegetables -- the one that requires the longest cooking time should go in first; the leaves should go in last -- cover and simmer after each addition.
- Taste the broth before adding each batch of vegetables and add salt and pepper, as needed.
- Add the tamarind extract. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
- Add the dumplings and simmer just until heated through.
- Serve at once.