Recipe #44: RED SINIGANG with Del Monte Tomato Sauce

I don’t think I’ve ever posted a Sinigang recipe on my blog before. Don’t get me wrong — I love Sinigang, and my family loves it too. In fact, we love Sinigang so much we cook it almost every week: Sinigang na Baboy, Sinigang na Manok, Sinigang sa Miso, Sinigang na Hipon, Sinigang na Salmon, Sinigang na Bangus, and so on…

Sinigang has been a staple on our dining table, which is probably why I haven’t shared  its recipe. I eat it every week, so I never really found any interest to write about it. It’s like making an omelette or frying hot dogs.

So, you ask, what makes this particular recipe special? I’m adding Del Monte Tomato Sauce, that’s what! Yes, Sinigang with tomato sauce, hence the name Red Sinigang.

The mere idea of adding tomato sauce to Sinigang already raised my eyebrow. Won’t it taste weird? Won’t it just turn it into a Caldereta or Mechado of some sort? Is this even legal?

I must try to find out.

Red Sinigang

Albeit skeptical, I couldn’t wait to prepare this Red Sinigang recipe from Del Monte Kitchenomics. Sinigang itself is very easy to prepare — just dump everything into the pot. It has protein and vegetables — a hearty, well-balanced meal, perfect with steamed rice.

The classic Filipino recipe uses fresh, ripe tomatoes and tamarind (sampaloc) to create a sour soup base that we all crave for. For Red Sinigang, I replaced the tomatoes with Del Monte Tomato Sauce. I’m also using Sinigang mix to make things quicker and easier to prepare, although you can still use fresh tamarind if you prefer.

I also decided to use pork ribs because this is one of the bony sections that gives out a rich, meaty flavor, ideal in making soups and soup-based dishes. Just the same, you can use any pork parts that you like.

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Recipe #41: GINATAANG HALO-HALO (ALFAJOR)

Ginataang Halo-Halo is another favorite Filipino merienda or minandal which is usually served as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. In my hometown, this delectable dish is popularly known as Alfajor. A warm bowl of this sweet delicacy can be enjoyed at a nearby carenderia, usually being served along side lugaw and other kakanin.

Root crops are the key ingredients of Ginataang Halo-Halo which easily fill your stomach and give you enough energy for a day’s work. Saba bananas and ripe jackfruit add an extra sweetness, and the sago and glutinous rice balls (bilo-bilo) provide a chewy texture.

Just an additional note, I personally find it challenging to prepare Ginataang Halo-Halo because I get allergic reaction while peeling taro roots (gabi). It gives me an itch that lasts for several days. Gabi is naturally toxic when raw, but its toxicity diminishes when cooked. What I do is I wear a plastic bag or hand gloves whenever I prepare the root crop. So, take extra precautionary measures as you might also experience the same discomfort.

Meanwhile, the glutinous rice (malagkit) dough is the same ingredient that we use in making Palitaw. Check out my Palitaw recipe to learn how to make the dough at home. When you shape it into small balls, it is locally known as bilo-bilo, which perhaps came from the Tagalog word bilog which means round in shape.

Just like many of Filipino dishes, Ginataang Halo-Halo can be prepared without one or two of the ingredients especially when they are not available in the place where you live. Check out Filipino stores in your area for canned varieties if you can’t find fresh produce.

Ginataang Halo-Halo

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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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