After living in the city for 30 years, EC moved to the countryside. He writes about life in the mountains, dogs, plants, and cooking.
Pork in Hot Tamarind Soup is a Feast for Lunch or Dinner
Pork meat cooked in tamarind soup is a healthy and satisfying feast. The sour spicy taste of this sinigang dish tickles the tongue to repeat savoring the thick broth. Everybody loves to bite into tender and juicy pork chunks and munch the crispy goodness of half-cooked veggies.
Tamarind - Nutritional Value
The sour taste of the tamarind is from tartaric acid. Very different from the citric acid of lemon, this particular type of acid from tamarind brings out the best taste from meat and fish in sinigang dishes.
Tamarind is a powerful antioxidant (E334). It is a tropical tree but used as a medicinal herb in the Asian region like Thailand. The medicinal properties of the tamarind fruit come from phytochemicals like cinnamic acid, methyl salicylate, safrole, pyrazine, limonene, geraniol, and alkylthiazoles.
In the culinary area, the tamarind is considered as spice. It is rich in tartaric acid and has a cathartic substance considered as medication that helps lower high fever, blood cholesterol, heart rate, and blood pressure.
Tamarind has chemical compounds, vitamins, essential minerals as well as dietary fibers that give many health benefits to the body. Mineral content consists of calcium, iron, potassium, selenium, copper, magnesium, and zinc. Vitamin content includes Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin.
In food processing, the tamarind is used as an emulsifying agent in decoctions, food syrups, and other pharmaceutical products.
The sticky tamarind pulp is a source of non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) like gums, pectin, tannin, hemicellulose, and mucilage. The fiber content in tamarind fruit protects colon against toxins from food and helps get rid of bad cholesterol (LDL).
How to Cook Sinigang na Baboy or Pork in Sour Broth Recipe
- 4 cups pork meat large cubes, blanched and drained
- 3 medium tomatoes, quartered
- 2 medium red onions, quartered
- 3 pieces long green pepper
- 2 pork boullion cubes, salt to taste
- water - 2 cups or 4 cups
- 2 cups unripe tamarind - or - 1 large pack tamarind-based sinigang powder
- 1 cup okra
- 1 medium white radish, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup sitaw, cut to 2 inches long
- 1 medium talong, sliced
- 2 cups kangkong, cut to 3 inches long
- 2 medium taro roots, peeled and quartered
How to Cook Pork Sinigang
- To remove fresh meat smell, put pork meat in near-boiling water for 2 minutes. Wash in water one more time and drain well.
- In a soup pot, put all ingredients together with pork meat -- except the tamarind and the vegetables. Use 2 cups of water to make thicker broth and 4 cups to make thinner and more transparent soup.
- Boil over medium-high heat for 15 minutes or until the meat is tender.
- Pour the tamarind juice extract -- if using fresh unripe tamarind fruits. Or sprinkle the tamarind-based sinigang powder mix into the pot. Stir to help dissolve the mix.
- Add the hardy vegetables first: taro roots, long string beans, and radish. Cover and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add the okra and eggplant. Cover the pot again and simmer for another 2 minutes.
- Fold into the broth the kangkong leaves until fully submerged. Cover and let boil for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and serve hot with rice.
What is Best for Sinigang: Lean Pork or Pork with Fat and Skin?
The traditional pork sinigang prefers pork meat with fat and skin intact. This meat cuts are from the belly part.
If a thinner line of fat is desired, the kasim part is perfect.
The flesh of the lean pork cuts usually look darker and take longer to cook.
How to Extract Tamarind Juice
Boil 1/4 cup water in a small pot. The tamarind fruit is cooked when the brown skin breaks. Using a spoon, mash cooked tamarind lightly to extract the pulp. Transfer the tamarind juice into another bowl to separate the seeds and skin.
How to Cook Kamias and Bayabas for Sinigang
Kamias or bilimbi is also used in pork sinigang. Because it has no brittle skin like the tamarind, it is cooked along the other vegetables.
Bayabas or ripe guava is mainly used in fish sinigang. Its sweet and sour taste is delicious in sinigang na bangus.