East meets west in this special soup dish that is the combination of two well-loved dishes that are from worlds apart. Meet Corned Beef Sinigang!
We, Filipinos, love our sour soup, Sinigang! We’ve done all kinds of variations of this dish— from pork, beef, chicken, fish. This dish actually showcases the innate ingenuity of our people. By using whatever locally available crops and vegetables in season. We also have unlimited sources of souring agents. Tamarind, kamias, guava, and batwan just to name a few. I have tried a lot of versions and each one of them unique but equally delicious.
However, it was only recently that I had my very first taste of Corned Beef Sinigang. I’ve heard about it a few years ago. But I have not actually seen it on any menus nor made by anyone I know. It is quite popular in Manila and we seldom go, unless necessary. Avoiding the stress of traffic and all.
To be honest, the first time someone told me about this latest iteration to our beloved sour soup, I was not impressed. I somehow cannot wrap my head around the combination. It was just too weird for me, perverse even, at least to me …or so I thought at the time.
A few months back though, Armin and I were out with my family for lunch and this particular resto-grill has Sinigang Corned Beef on their menu. Alas, I mustered my courage and finally caved-in. I guess my curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to know for myself what the fuss is all about.
When it was served, I was like “Oh!”. I am not sure what I was expecting, really. It looked like any other Beef Sinigang, only the meat is pink. But as soon as my fork dug into the meat and felt how tender it was, it got me excited.
Yes, it was good. I mean, beef Sinigang is good as it is but with corned beef, it is totally different. It is like having two different dishes at the same time.
So the last time I made my homemade corned beef, I made a bigger batch having this particular dish in my mind to share with you.
The one they served us didn’t have taro (gabi) in it. That is absolutely fine, of course. But adding taro gives the soup body. It makes it thicker that is so much nicer with the beef.
Cooking with taro Root
For those who have not worked with taro before, a little warning. Wear gloves when you peel them. Or use a kitchen towel so you do not touch them directly. They can cause itchiness to some people.
If not cooking immediately, soak peeled taro in water to avoid discoloration.
Corned Beef Sinigang
- 1.5 pounds corned beef - - cut into serving pieces
- 6 cups water
- 1 medium red onion - - cut into quarters
- 5 pieces tomatoes - - each cut into quarters
- 2 medium taro - - peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 medium radish - - peeled and cut into slices
- 1 medium eggplant - - cut into slices
- 8 small okra - - ends trimmed
- 3 green chili
- tamarind paste - - or tamarind powder
- fish sauce or salt
- Stove-top - Put corned beef in a pot and pour 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot with the lid and let it simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours or until beef becomes fork-tender. Electric Pressure Cooker - Place beef in pressure cooker pot and add water. Close and lock the lid. Set pressure cooker to high and cook for 40 minutes. Release pressure and take the lid off. Continue cooking using the 'Saute: or 'manual' function.
- Add the tomatoes, onions, and taro. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the radish and eggplants and cook until radish becomes tender about 3 minutes. Then add the okra and green chili.
- Add tamarind paste or powder. The amount depends on how sour you like the soup to be. Season with fish sauce or salt.
- Once the vegetables are cooked to the tenderness that you prefer, turn off the heat. Remember that they will continue to cook from the residual heat, so do not overcook them.
- Serve while hot with rice.