Recipe #45: SINIGANG NA ISDA SA MISO (Fish in Tamarind & Miso Soup)

Sinigang sa Miso is to the Philippines what Seafood Tom Yum is to Thailand. A type of tamarind-based soup (although sometimes guavas or kamias are used), Sinigang is arguably second to the Adobo in the popularity hierarchy of Filipino cuisine, and probably as ubiquitous as the Chicken Tinola.

However, the countries that have more similar dishes to Sinigang are perhaps from our next-door neighbors; Malaysia’s Singgang and Indonesia’s Sayur Asem also use tamarind as a souring agent unlike Thailand’s Tom Yum which uses lime.

Sinigang na Isda sa Miso 1-2

It’s apparent that sampaloc or tamarind is a very popular ingredient in many tropical countries as a souring agent in a number of savory dishes and as candied snacks. For example, one of the key ingredients of the popular Thai stir-fried noodle dish Pad Thai is tamarind paste. In the Philippines, aside from Sinigang and tamarind candies, we also have a dish called Sinampalukang Manok which uses tamarind leaves.

Today’s Sinigang na Isda sa Miso recipe is a popular variation of this national dish which you will surely enjoy especially if you love fish. Miso, a fermented soybean paste typically associated with Japanese cuisine, is an important element of this recipe. The sourness of tamarind adds a tangy counterpoint to miso‘s umami flavor which creates an outrageously delicious soup base.

Please enjoy the recipe below:

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Recipe #42: GINISANG MUNGGO (Mung Bean Soup)

So, I’ve been staying at home for the past six days, nursing a flu (and a cold and a cough). My body finally gave up on me. I haven’t been sick for years now and I thought it can still take all the stress. I’m blaming everything on the weather; 34 degrees C (about 93.2 degrees F) of glorious summer heat practically envelopes the entire Metro Manila. And it’s still getting hotter!

There’s no comfort in being sick especially during the hot season. The rainy season is more merciful; you can easily find pleasure with a bowl of warm soup or a serving of porridge or a cup of hot something. In this weather, they might be a bit hard to appreciate. But, I still wanted my bowl of soup, so, I came down to a decision and gathered all my strength to get up and prepare my favorite comfort food — Ginisang Munggo.

Ginisang Munggo

I love Ginisang Munggo. I used to not like it when I was a child for reasons that I don’t remember, then I started liking it when I was growing up. Ginisang Munggo is pure pleasure in a bowl. Although technically it’s a soup, most Pinoys would eat it with rice. It’s the perfect partner for your fried dishes, especially fish. Ginisang Munggo is usually served every Friday (if you know why, let me know by leaving a comment below!), but I’d eat it any day of the week anyway!

There are many ways to prepare Ginisang Munggo. If you can buy chicharon with laman (pork cracklings), you can use that instead of rendering pork meat. You can also make it vegan or vegetarian friendly by removing the pork and/or shrimp altogether and use tofu instead. For the leafy ingredient, I personally prefer malunggay (moringa or horseradish tree) because it’s packed with nutrients. The thickness of the soup depends on your desired consistency; just add more water and adjust the seasoning.

Note: If you have a high level of uric acid, this dish may not be for you. I’m looking at you, Larry.

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Recipe #38: FILIPINO STYLE STEAK (Bistek Tagalog)

Bistek Tagalog is one of my all-time favorite Filipino dishes. Bistek is a local version of the very western beef steak, hence the name. But the etymology of the word may have come from the Spanish word bistec, which means, well, steak in English.

What makes it distinct from the western version is its mild, citrus-y flavor, which is produced by combining the tang of calamansi and the essence of soy sauce. Also, the Filipino bistek is usually thin in slices, compared to the thick chunks of meat and large servings of the American beef steak.

Beef is the typical meat ingredient, but you can also use slices of pork, such as pork chops and liempo (pork belly). I choose pork over beef because I like the taste better, and I try to avoid red meat as much as possible. My favorite cut is liempo, because it’s easier to cook and the meat is more tender and tastier.

When you prepare bistek, make sure not to overcook the onions to keep them crunchy. The potatoes are optional, but please, include them to your grocery list. Who doesn’t like potatoes, anyway? If beef steaks are great with mashed potato, consider this as our alternative.

Continue reading below to get the recipe:

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