Sunday, November 16, 2008

Filipino comfort food: Sinigang

When I'm sick, nothing is more comforting than a steaming bowl of soup. It's all about the hot, soothing broth, calming the scratchy throat and blanketing my insides from tongue to toes. Chicken noodle soup is my normal go-to; I keep my pantry stocked with cans of Campbell's condensed version. It's easy, it's familiar, it does the trick just fine. But really, it's only second best.

Sinigang

Sinigang is the Filipino version of chicken noodle soup. Kind of. There's no noodles in sininang, or chicken (at least not in any I've ever had, but there certainly are many variations of the dish). My parents often make it with beef, ginger, taro root, and long beans. Taro root is like a potato, only a bit mushier and waxier when cooked in sinigang. When I was younger, I called them Filipino potatoes. Long beans are basically green beans, except longer and darker in color.

While these goodies are essential to sinigang, it's the tamarind that really defines the dish. The tamarind brings a sourness to the broth, which is what makes the dish so soothing to a sore throat. If I ever felt the slightest hint of a cold, my mom would make a pot of sinigang right away and spoon the broth into a little cup that I would sip with my food. It made being sick almost worth it. And I'll be completely honest with you: It tastes better when I'm sick.

Sinigang

It's still delicious without being sick, of course. Jenny asked my parents to make sinigang when we were at home a couple of weeks back. I gobbled up my food and had seconds, but not before burning my throat on the steaming hot broth and feeling the sour tingle all the way to my fingertips. Ahhh. OK, so a little part of me did wish I had a sore throat. But with the thin layer of snow I found on my car's rooftop this evening, that sore throat may be coming sooner than I'd like...

3 comments:

  1. My husband is the resident sinigang cook at our home :) There is a chicken soup here called sinampalukang manok which is like a chicken version of sinigang...yummy too!

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  2. That sound delicious! Love the line about feeling the sour to your fingertips, too.

    (And oh the snow! It's here already!) :(

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  3. chicajo - i've never had the chicken version! i'll ask my parents about that one...i've been meaning to expand my filipino food knowledge beyond my childhood favorites.

    shannalee - the sour is key. :)

    and the snow sucks. :(

    i bought a shovel for my car a few weekends back...gotta get ready to dig it out of the snow wherever i go!

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