How to cook Sinigang? I was always asked this question by some friends and I’d reply it’s very basic. If you are using pork, chicken, or beef, boil it first (with no salt, adding salt takes additional time for the meat to tenderize.) until the meat is evenly cooked. Gather all the fresh ingredients, chop up all vegetables and pick a good souring agent (tamarind, kamias, lemon, green mangoes or calamansi). Throw them all in a large pot, wait to simmer, season the broth untilall the flavors get infused into the meat. A good sour soup borders on not being too sour or tasteless; the balance of flavors must be perfectly achieved. The difference in making fish sinigang is the fish is lastly added as the sour broth gets cooked first. Sinigang oftentimes uses rice washing to give additional flavor and nutrition. Sinigang is considered the most indigenous Philippine soup.
I prepared Sinigang na Lapulapu sa Miso last Sunday. My niece bought a big grouper in Palawan almost 3 kilos. I would have wanted it steamed but because of its enormous size, I had the head cooked with sour broth, and the rest cut up for steamed and baked fish for latter use. The first thing to do is to prepare the fish; I scaled it and clean the guts thru its mouth, careful on not making any incision in the stomach area. Once the guts are out, next thing is to remove the scales and fins. I cut it diagonally into desired pieces and washed it under running water.
Once done, I season it with salt and white pepper and prepare the vegetables I will use. I used Knorr Tamarind Soup Mix and Philippine miso, it is very much different from Japanese miso, as it is made and fermented from a local soya bean and rice wine. As for vegetables, I used native mustard leaves. When using one, soak the chopped up pieces in salt and water for at least 15 minutes before cooking to take out the slightly bitter taste.
Fresh Lapulapu (grouper) head and stomach part
3 pcs. 20 gm.packs of Knorr Tamarind Soup Mix
2 bundles Mustard leaves chopped
Miso paste 1 cup
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 ginger, chopped
5 green chilies (labuyo)
1 liter water
3 cups rice washing
Salt and white pepper
Sauté ginger, onion and tomatoes. Add in the miso paste. Lightly brown this sautéed mix.
Pour rice washing and water. Add the Tamarind soup mix. Boil.
Add the Lapulapu head. Simmer and adjust the taste as desired. Serve.
Lapu-lapu is truly one of the best tasting fish there is. It may be a bit pricy because of its luscious texture and excellent taste, but we got to enjoy a tasty and healthy sour soup that has plenty of nutrients (omega 3) and vitamins. Recent studies suggests that supplementing the diet with omega-3 fatty acids not only can reduce heart attack risks but can also help treat depression, bipolar disorder, autism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Fish is indeed good brain food.
Lastly, the healthful qualities of fish can be neutralized by unhealthful ways of cooking it. Fish that is battered and fried, slathered with butter, or blanketed in creamy sauces becomes just another vehicle for putting saturated fat and excess calories into the body. I prefer fish that is boiled (sinigang, paksiw or tinola), baked (fish papillote), steamed, grilled, broiled, or smoked. Frying fish is the last option I make.