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 Sinigang sa Kamias
Kamias Versus Tamarind-Based Powder
Who doesn't love pork sinigang? Who wouldn't like to slurp the steaming sour soup during lunch whether it's raining or scorching hot? Who wouldn't munch on crunchy vegetables? Nobody can resist the chewy and tender piece of cooked pork. Everybody loves the tasty sinigang!
My favorite is pork sinigang. I always buy a kilo of pork ribs on market day, which is every Thursday, because I find the bony part quite tasty in soup-based dishes. I will choose the cheapest vegetables: kangkong leaves, a couple of long white radish, and tomatoes. The vegetables are all freshly picked from the farms nearby that morning and the pig was slaughtered at dawn. Alas! I won't be doing justice to all these fresh ingredients by adding a packet of tamarind, processed and turned to powder.
Kamias, or Bilimibi in English
The Elusive Kamias
There are numerous sour fruit-bearing trees to choose from. Mango and santol trees are abundant in the area. Even the famous tamarind trees are present. These are quite sour when unripe. Unfortunately, they are not in season so I looked for other sour fruit.
I decided to get the sour taste for my sinigang from the elusive kamias. These are small fruits with green-yellow tinge in color. They are long and oblong. Their sour taste, when unripe, can cause your eyes to squint. They are not well-known and thus, always absent in the market.
Kamias, or Vinagrillo in Spanish
Kamias' Scientific Name is Averrhoa bilimbi L.
Kamias is also called in English terms: 'bilimibi,' 'bilimbi tree,' 'cucumber tree,' 'pickle tree,' and 'sorrel tree.' Scientific name is: Averrhoa bilimbi L. It has different names locally such as: iba, kalamias, kalingiwa, kiling-iba, pias, and many more. Other countries have also their name for kamias: biri-biri in Brazil, huang gua shu in China, kaling pring in Thailand, khe tay in Vietnam, vinagrillo in Spain, birinbi in Japanese and more.
Name of Kamias in Other Countries
Tree Sorrel, Pickle Tree, Cucumber Tree, Bilimbi Tree, Bilimibi
Indias, Mimbro, Vinagrillo
Ma hu gua, Xiang yang tao, Huang gua shu, Suan guo
Bilimbim, Biri-biri, Limao de caiena, Azedinha
Bimbling plum, Blimblin
Carambolier bilimbi, Blimblim, Cornichon des Indes, Zibeline
Belimbing asam, Belimbing wuluh
Belimbing asam, Belimbing besu, Belimbing buloh, Belimbing wuluh
Tà ling pling, Kaling pring
Kamias is Rich in Vitamin C
Kamias is not a popular food flavoring but it is well-known as stain remover. Squeeze the juice of an unripe fruit to the stain on the cloth and expose it under the sun. The flower of kamias is infused to boiling water and used to treat cough. Even the leaves are used as skin disorder remedy, such as: mumps and acne.
In some areas, kamias is made into wine, vinegar, and pickles. Its juice is blended into refreshing drinks, rich in vitamin C. Kamias trees are also seasonal fruit-bearers.
Kamias Flower Can Treat Cough
Cooking for Two
I was fortunate to find a kamias tree in the neighborhood. Braving the barking of three large dogs who guard the precious tree, I asked the owner for a few kamias fruit. He gave me one small bag.
I divided the pork when it was boiled because I will cook just for two people. The other half will be cooked as nilagang baboy or caldereta.
All Fresh Ingredients
Prepare the Ingredients
- 1/2 kilo pork ribs, boiled until tender
- 1 pc medium onion, quartered
- 3 pcs medium tomatoes, quartered
- 1 pc long green chili, cut into two
- 12 pcs kamias, cleaned and whole
- 2 pcs long white radish, sliced
- 1 small bundle kangkong leaves
Wash and Cut the Vegetables Thoroughly
How to Cook
- Wash and boil the pork meat until tender. (If you bought it fresh and newly slaughtered, spill the water from first boil and wash the pork meat again. I do not want the dregs of cooked blood on my pork sinigang.)
- Add the onion, tomatoes, long green chili, and kamias. Cover and let boil.
- Mash the tomatoes and kamias with a large spoon against the side of the pot. A sour aroma will emit from the pot.
- Add the slices of radish. Add a pinch of salt. Cover the pot again.
- After 5 minutes, add the kangkong leaves. Cover for another 5 minutes. (In our pork sinigang, I let it boil for another 10 minutes because we prefer the vegetables soft and mushy.)
- Serve hot with bowls of steamed rice. Yummy!
Cook the Pork 'Sinigang sa Kamias'
© 2020 EC Mendoza
EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on March 19, 2020:
My pleasure to write articles that readers enjoy :)
Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on March 17, 2020:
Hello Mendoza, thanks, I enjoy reading.
EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on March 11, 2020:
Hi Miebakagh! Thank you for the appreciation :) Please keep reading!
Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on March 10, 2020:
Hello, EC Mandoza, what an interesting meal. Thanks for sharing.