Friday, June 1, 2012

Sinigang na Baboy (Pork in Tangy Broth)

Sinigang na Baboy is a tangy soup in the Philippines. The dish uses pork as the main ingredient.  Other meat such as chicken, shrimp, and fish can be used, too. Buto-buto (bony parts of the pig) such as pork neck bone, chopped spare ribs, chopped baby back ribs, and pork belly are usually used  for this dish. Sometimes pork kasim and pigue (pork ham) are also used.
Sampalok (tamarind) is the most common souring agent used in sinigang. Other fruits such as guava, tomato, kamias (bilimbi,) green mango, pineapple, kalamansi (native lime) and santol (wild mangosteen) can also be used as souring ingredients.  The dish is commonly cooked with vegetables such as radish, taro, okra, eggplant and spinach, bokchoy or mustard green.
My mom prepares sinigang using unripe tamarind by boiling it and separating the pulp from the seeds.  This gives the sinigang a certain "kick" to it.  When you taste the broth, your lips will definitely pucker up. Sinigang is usually served with steamed rice along with "sawsawan" which is made of patis (fish sauce) and crushed siling labuyo (chili peppers.)  Sinigang is best for lunch or even dinner especially during rainy days.  
Nowadays one can buy the dry sinigang mix to cook the dish.  Although it doesn't have the authentic taste of sinigang using the real tamarind or other fresh souring agents.
Last week we had a thunderstorm here in Florida and I told my husband I am craving sinigang.  I have cooked fish and shrimp sinigang for him before.  This is his first pork sinigang and he loved it!
  • 2 pounds pork belly, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup unripe tamarind (boiled, peeled, pulp separated from the seeds)
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 4 pieces small tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 pieces medium-sized taro (gabi)
  • 4 pieces finger peppers
  • 1 cup string beans (or grean beans,) cut into 2-inch length
  • 1 piece radish (labanos)
  • 8 pieces okra (optional)
  • 1 piece eggplant (optional)
  • 3 cups water spinach (kangkong or bokchoy and/or mustard greens)
  • salt to taste
  • 12 cups water

  1. Boil two cups of water and add the tamarind.  Bring to a rapid boil until the tamarind softens for about 10-15 minutes.  Drain the tamarind, peel and separate the pulp from the seeds.  Using a muslin cloth, extract the juice or pulp.  This will be the souring agent for the sinigang.  
  2. In a stock pot put 10 cups of water.  Add the pork, onion, tomatoes and taro.  Season with fish sauce.  Bring to a boil then simmer for 40 minutes or until pork is tender.
  3. Add the souring agent and the pepper.
  4. Add the string beans and other vegetables and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach and/or other vegetable greens.  Season with salt. Turn off the heat and cover the pot.   Let the spinach cook using the remaining heat in the pot.
  6. Serve hot with steamed rice and fish sauce with crushed chili peppers on the side.


  • Some use chicken, fish or shrimp for their sinigang. 
  • Other ingredients that can be used as souring agents are kamias, calamansi, guava, tomato, green mango and santol.
  • Other root crops that can be used as extender for the meat are radish/daikon and sweet potatoes. 
  • Other vegetable greens that can be used are bokchoy, mustard greens or turnip greens.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve as appetizer soup
  • Serve as main entree with steamed rice
  • Serve with fish sauce and crushed chili pepper on the side

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