Clean Eating Sinigang (Filipino Sour Soup)
I have been craving Sinigang which is a traditional Filipino soup that has a sour taste because it’s made from tamarinds (an exotic fruit that look like a big, brown lima bean). Sinigang is usually made from a packaged powder that they sell at Asian groceries and it has all kinds of sodium, corn starch, and chemicals in it, the worst offender being Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). Eeks no!! So I took on the challenge of making Sinigang from scratch. I had no idea what I was doing and was experimenting through the whole thing. Luckily, it turned out really good!
Finding the tamarind paste was a challenge. I found it at the Asian grocery store after asking 4 different people that didn’t speak English to try to help me. I consider it a “clean” ingredient because it’s just tamarinds. The only ingredient that may be questionably clean is the fish sauce, which is made of anchovies, sugar, salt, and water. I’m not too worried about the sugar and salt because I only used 1 tblspn.
- 200g (1/2 cup) packaged tamarinds or tamarind paste (pictured above)
- 4 garlic gloves chopped
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (patis)
- 4 inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (make the pieces big so you see them and don’t eat them. They’re just here to add flavor.)
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cups chopped daikon (Japanese radish)
- 2 cups bok choy (washed, outer leaves peeled off)
- 2 cups green beans
- 1 cup okra
- Optional: 1-2 chili pepper (if you like a little spice)
- 1 lb fish *You could use salmon, tilapia, catfish, shrimp. You can also do this with pork or dark meat chicken (drumsticks work well).
Make tamarind base:
Boil 4 cups of water and then add the tamarind paste. Stir and mash the tamarind in the boiling water because it will be clumpy. Let simmer 15 minutes. Then strain the liquid and save it. You don’t want the tamarind chunks in your soup.
Make the soup!
Return the tamarind liquid to a large pot. Add another 4 cups of water, bring to a boil. Add the garlic, fish sauce, lemon juice, ginger, tomatoes, onions and chili peppers if you’re using them. Let simmer for 10 mins or so to let all the flavors mix together. Taste your broth and see if you like the sourness. Some like their Sinigang more or less sour than others. You can add more lemon juice if you want. You could also add a little Braggs Amino Acids if you like a bit of saltiness too.
Add all your veggies. You can really experiment with veggies here. You could do eggplant, kale, carrots, anything. Add more water if needed to cover the veggies. Let simmer 10 minutes to soften the veggies.
Add your fish. Fish cooks fast, so I put it in last. Cook 10 more minutes or until fish is cooked through. Don’t overcook your fish because it’ll fall apart. You can use frozen fish filets too.