Cookbook:Sinigang (Philippine Sour Soup)

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Sinigang (Philippine Sour Soup)
CategorySoup recipes

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Sinigang, the famous sour soup of the Philippines, is a fruity sour-based soup boiled with either pork, beef, chicken, fish or seafood. A variety of vegetables can be included, but onions and tomatoes are required. Root vegetables are too starchy and not recommended, with the exception of taro root, which adds a milky and starchy texture. Okra can also provide a pleasant thickness, although it is more clear or transparent. The most common souring agent for the soup is tamarind, but unripe mango, calamansi juice, unripe watermelon, starfruit, cane vinegar, citrus juice, guava, and kamias can also be used. The meat and tomato provide a savory umami flavor, while fatty meat tempers the sourness. Semi-hot chile peppers add mild spice and make the soup aromatic.

Sinigang was often compared to Tom Yam of Thailand, but Sinigang is more sweeter and lighter in spice, contrast to strong flavor of Thai variety. Some critics say Sinigang should be considered a national food of the Philippines, since it originates in the local cuisine.




  1. If using whole tamarind, boil it in water until the shells crack, then work the flesh away from the seeds and strain, reserving all the liquid for the soup. Skip this process if using packed tamarind base.
  2. Sauté the chopped onions in another large pot.
  3. Add the tomato and pork to the onions, and sauté until the pork is no longer pink.
  4. Add enough water or boiled tamarind stock to cover the contents of the pot. Boil until tender.
  5. Add taro root, and simmer until soft and tender. The soup should to thicken at this point.
  6. Add the horseradish, and simmer until tender-crunchy.
  7. Add the string beans, quartered onions, and water spinach. Simmer for another 2–3 minutes.
  8. Check to make sure all ingredients were cooked enough, then add the tamarind pack if using.
  9. Add fish sauce, salt, pepper, and MSG to taste. Top with green chillies.
  10. Serve hot.