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Recipe for Philippine Sinigang – the Tasty Filipino Sour Soup

Updated on September 28, 2012
Sinigang sa Hipon
Sinigang sa Hipon | Source
Sinigang Ingredients
Sinigang Ingredients | Source

Sinigang is the famous Philippine dish that gives out a sharp, biting and tangy taste that rolls across the tastebuds of many Filipinos and makes them scoop more of this dish’s well-liked sour soup.

The term sinigang actually refers to a way of cooking that uses mainly tamarind, known locally in the Philippines as sampalok, as the main ingredient.

Tamarind gives this sinigang its signature sour taste.

Alternatively, Filipinos in the Philippines use tamarind substitutes like guava, miso, bilimbi or kamias, unripe or green mango, or the commercially packed bouillon cubes or powder with tamarind flavor in preparing this nationally recognized dish.

Vinegar is not used as an ingredient in sinigang although it can lend a sour taste.

In the Philippines, Filipinos use vinegar in a similar yet not the same kind of sour dish called paksiw.

Know the Many Kinds of Philippine Sinigang

Sinigang is such a popular food in the Philippines that it has several varieties:

  • sinigang na hipon or shrimp sinigang
  • sinigang na bangus or milkfish sinigang
  • sinigang na baboy or pork sinigang
  • sinigang na tilapia or tilapia sinigang
  • sinigang na baka or beef sinigang
  • sinampalukang manok or chicken sinigang with tamarind leaves

Oftentimes, Filipinos refer to sinigang according to the main ingredient used to make the dish sour:

  • sinigang sa bayabas or guava sinigang
  • sinigang sa kamias or bilimbi sinigang
  • sinigang sa mangga or green mango sinigang
  • sinigang sa miso or miso sinigang
  • sinigang sa sampalok or tamarind sinigang

Thus, Filipinos would call a dish sinigang na bangus sa bayabas when referring to a sinigang dish with milkfish and cooked in guava or sinigang na hipon sa sampalok when referring to a sinigang dish with shrimp prepared with tamarind.

What to Expect in a Bowl of Tangy Sinigang

Sinigang is like a complete meal in itself.

It has either meat – pork or beef – or seafood – fish or shrimp.

It has a medley of vegetables that includes tamarinds, tomatoes, onions, eggplants, yardlong beans or sitaw, water spinach or kangkong, radish or labanos, green finger pepper, okra and taro corns.

It has soup that can fill the stomach rather quickly.

In many small eateries and traditional restaurants in the Philippines, sinigang is served as both soup and main dish.

Usually, the soup can be requested to be refilled many times and is best served while warm.

The main ingredients of the dish are often transferred onto a plate and then eaten with hot steamed rice.

Sinigang na Hipon or Shrimp Sinigang Recipe

Ingredients for Sinigang na Hipon

  • fish sauce or patis – 2 tablespoons
  • onion – large-sized; diced
  • radish – 2 pieces; sliced
  • green finger pepper – 3 pieces
  • shrimp – 1 kilogram
  • tamarind – 12 pieces
  • tomato – 3 pieces; quartered
  • water – 5 cups
  • water spinach – 1 bundle; cut into two-centimeter length
  • yardlong beans – 1 bundle; cut into two-centimeter length

Instructions for Cooking Sinigang na Hipon

  1. Boil tamarind in water for about 5 minutes or until it becomes soft.
  2. Extract the juice of the tamarind and set the juice aside.
  3. In a pot set over medium heat, boil the tamarind juice, water, onion, tomato, and radish.
  4. Once the water is boiling and the vegetables are tender, add in shrimps, yardlong beans, water spinach, and green finger pepper.
  5. Simmer everything for about 10 minutes.
  6. Season the dish with fish sauce.
  7. If fish sauce is not available, then sprinkle salt.
  8. Serve the dish while the soup is warm.

Sinigang na Bangus or Milkfish Sinigang Recipe

Ingredients for Sinigang na Bangus

  • bangus or milkfish – 1 piece; large-sized; sliced into serving sizes
  • eggplant – 2 pieces; medium-sized; sliced into serving sizes
  • ginger – 1 piece; small-sized; sliced
  • onion – 1 piece; large-sized; sliced
  • salt
  • tamarind powder – 1 sachet
  • tomato – 2 pieces; quartered
  • water – 5 cups
  • water spinach – 1 bundle; cut into two-centimeter sizes
  • yardlong beans – 1 bundle; cut into two-centimeter sizes

Instructions for Cooking Sinigang na Bangus

  1. In a pot set over medium heat, boil water with ginger.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add in milkfish, tomato, yardlong beans, eggplant, and onion.
  3. Simmer everything for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add in tamarind powder.
  5. Flavor the dish with salt.
  6. Turn off the heat.
  7. Add in water spinach and cover the pot for 10 minutes.
  8. Serve the dish while the soup is warm.

Ta-da-da! Enjoy your homemade Philippine sinigang!

Copyright © 2012 Kerlyn Bautista

All Rights Reserved

Recipe for Pork Sinigang

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    Post Comment
    • nuchime profile image


      8 years ago from philippines're making me so hungry right now!!

    • SimpleGiftsofLove profile image


      8 years ago from Colorado

      You make beautiful food and great hubs. Kudos Kerlynb, and thanks for sharing...hoping I can find what I need at our local Filipino market! I am brave enough to give it a shot and love new flavors. As always, enjoyed reading! Have a great day! Up and interesting!

    • rjsadowski profile image


      8 years ago

      What an awesome hub. I love to learn about authentic ethnic cooking and your recipes look delicious.

    • anjperez profile image


      8 years ago

      ito ang pangtapat sa Tom Yum soup ng Thailand!


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