Really sour. That’s how I like my sinigang. Be it fish, shrimp or pork, as long as I’m slurping a bowl of rich tangy broth, I’m good. Sinigang, to all y’all clueless, is the Filipino ‘soup’, characterized by the meat/whole protein, vegetables, and a souring agent – usually sampalok (tamarind).
The only cop-out with this classic soup, that sits well with me, is the use of powdered soup mix (called Sinigang sa Sampalok). Every corner store, wet market and grocery carries sachets of this in its many brands and forms. So to put it out there: I’ve never had sinigang that wasn’t prepared and soured using the powdered mix. But like I said, it works for me.
Shrimp sinigang/Sinigang na Hipon sits at the top of the list of my favorite soups. I like how it gives the soup a fresh, subtle, “from the sea” flavor, that broth cubes just can’t give. Compared to adding pork in your sinigang, shrimp isn’t greasy at all, and you can hardly see any oil globules floating on the surface of the soup. It’s not that I don’t enjoy eating pork sinigang, on the contrary, I love it. But I love this one more. So much more.
I associate a hot sour soup like this one with memories of summer. Growing up it was really during the summer that I had uninterrupted moments in the kitchen with my Mama Eng. I got to enjoy family lunches and dinners more, and admittedly, I had more variety with what I was eating – probably more vegetables. I can’t really remember it all.
Sinigang na Hipon/Shrimp Sinigang (serves 6 – 8)
- 6 – 8 cups water
- around 15 – 20 prawns, head and shell intact, but barbs and long whiskers snipped with scissors
- 2 red onions, sliced
- 4 – 5 small tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 half an inch piece of ginger, intact
- 1 eggplant, sliced
- around 2 cups kangkong leaves or chili tops/leaves, washed under running water
- 1 cup/a bunch of string beans, sliced into 2 -3 inch pieces
- 1 cup malunggay/moringa leaves
- 2 10-gram sachets Sinigang sa Sampalok mix, or more if desired
- 1 sachet seasoning granules (I used Maggi Magic Sarap) or salt, to taste
- In a stockpot, allow water to boil over medium heat.
- When it’s boiling, add the shrimps, onions, tomatoes, ginger, eggplant and string beans. Cover and allow to cook for around 5 minutes, or until eggplant is tender. Season with salt or seasoning granules, to taste.
- Add the rest of the vegetables and the sinigang mix. Lower the heat to medium-low. Mix everything together and adjust taste to your preference. When it starts to boil again, remove from heat. Serve with rice and enjoy!