MamaSita's Sinigang sa Sampalok
Sinigang (sin-e-gang) sa Sampalok is a sour soup that gets its sour taste from tamarinds (sampalok). A delicious Filipino dish, I grew up eating this soup with pork, bok choy, tomatoes, and onions. The broth is delicious both by itself and with rice. Your vegetable options are almost limitless when it comes to this soup.
You can buy the mix packets from oriental grocery stores in your area.
If you're military it's likely you'll find it in the international aisle at your commissary.
My friend, Jenny, tried sinigang for the first time recently. After reading her reaction on Facebook, I asked her to write up a mini-review on the soup. I always love a persons first reactions to trying this soup. Enjoy!
Jasmine: How did you first hear about sinigang? Is this your first time trying any Filipino cuisine (that you know of)?
Jenny: I heard about Sinigang from this cute little Asian girl I know named Jasmine. It was a first for me.
Jasmine: What drew you in the most about the soup before you tried it?
Jenny: I think one of the most important things about living meat-free is being willing to try new dishes and new foods. It’s critical to do that for nutrition’s sake in general, but it’s even more important when living meat-free. I’ve tried a Vietnamese soup called Pho before and absolutely loved it (although it has meat, so it is no longer an option), and with rave reviews from Jasmine, I thought what the hell? Might as well try it.
Jasmine: Where did you find Mama Sita's sinigang mix packets in your area? And roughly how much did each packet cost?
Jenny: I googled “Asian Supermarket” in my area and found a few options. Ocean Mart in Sandy had the best reviews and claimed to be the biggest Asian supermarket in the greater Salt Lake City area, so I went there. Each packet I believe was $1.89.
Jasmine: What vegetables did you choose to use in your first time making sinigang?
Jenny: I used about 3 chopped tomatoes, ½ an onion, ½ head of cabbage, about 1 cup of green beans, and 1 cup of baby bok choy.
Jasmine: Tell me about your experience as you went through the cooking process. How did you prepare your vegetables? Did you follow the cooking instructions on the packet or did you go your own way? What did you think about the smell of the mix (haha)?
Jenny: I followed the cooking instructions on the packet as much as possible, although I substituted shrimp for prawns and used slightly different vegetables than it calls for. The mix smelled DISGUSTING! When I got to step 2 and added the mix to the pot I was sure that I would not like this soup. Thankfully, though, by the time everything had cooked and it made it to my mouth the flavor had changed quite a bit and it was DELICIOUS!
Jasmine: Did you prepare anything else to go with the soup? Rice? Side dishes? How did the flavors work together?
Jenny: I prepared vegetarian pot stickers on the side. I also poured the soup over leftover cilantro lime rice to go with it. I think the flavors blended very well.
Jasmine: Was this a solo adventure into Filipino cuisine? or did someone else try the sinigang with you? (If so, how did they react to the taste and smell?)
Jenny: I shared the dish with my boyfriend who also enjoyed it. He said it was “alright” which is very good from someone who doesn't like to try new food.
This is how her sinigang turned out! Sinigang may not look very appealing at first glance. But I assure you, if you like sour foods or willing to try new foods, sinigang is the soup for you!