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Filipino Recipe: Shrimp Sinigang (Sinigang na Hipon)

Shrimp Sinigang
Shrimp Sinigang pictures (1 of 2)

I haven’t had guest bloggers on Rasa Malaysia for a while, and am very happy to have Trissa of Trissalicious as a guest writer today. Trissa is one of my recipe testers and certainly one of the most trusted ones (thanks so much for your help!).  Her passion in food can be seen on her gorgeous food blog Trissalicious.  In this post, Trissa shares a classic Filipino recipeShrimp Sinigang. I have always wanted to learn more about Filipino cuisine, and Shrimp Sinigang is very high on my list. Imagine big, fresh, succulent shrimp swimming in a savory, sweet, and sour broth…the thought of it instantly sets my mouth watering. Please give your warmest welcome to Trissalicious.

Pucker up with Shrimp Sinigang…

Sour, salty, with a hint of sweet and bitter, Sinigang is one of the Philippine’s most loved dishes. In fact, the late Doreen Fernandez, who was one of the most respected food writers in the Philippines once argued that sinigang, rather than adobo should be considered the national dish of the Philippines, after all, Filipinos are the champion lovers of sourness…

Sinigang is a soup whose flavor is soured with fruits abundant in the Philippines like tamarind, guava, green mangoes or bilimbi (kamias). The dish is easily adaptable depending on what protein is on hand, but most frequently made with pork, beef, or prawns. The soup is also rich in vegetables that are easily available in the Philippines like daikon, eggplants, snake beans and water spinach.

Despite sinigang being one of my favorite comfort foods, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve always used a mix to make it. Every time my parents visit from the Philippines they bring me a care package which includes packets of “instant sinigang mix”. So it was definitely with a mix of excitement and apprehension that I attempted this dish from scratch. To create that signature sourness I chose tamarind. As a fruit it is quite difficult to come by overseas but tamarind pulp is readily available in Asian groceries. To make the base of the soup, tamarind pulp is soaked in hot water for a few minutes and then mashed, strained and added to the pot.

Sinigang is never complete without a bowl of steaming white rice and what we refer to as sawsawan, a dipping sauce made with fish sauce, calamansi and a bit of chili. Together, with the rice, you have a complete dish.

I am grateful to Bee for giving me this opportunity to share with you a dish that is distinct to the Filipino palate and yet appeals to everyone else. What started out as a quest to create sinigang from scratch has made me more proud than ever of my wonderful cuisine.

Sour, salty, with a hint of sweet and bitter… this dish takes me back to the Philippines every single time.

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30 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Junie

    OMG, look at those big prawns, I love anything with prawns. It reminds me of Thai Tom Yum Goong, I wonder if the taste is similar?

  2. Ellie

    Frankly speaking, I know very little about philippino cuisine and I have not heard oc this soup! What a great collaboration from my two favourite blogs :) this soup is full of wonderful ingredients and I can wait to try it.

  3. Thank you again Bee for giving me the opportunity to guest post! I really enjoyed making sinigang from scratch and my family did mention that they loved it and would never go back to instant mix again!

  4. Vanina

    Mmmm…looks delicious! Can’t wait to try at home. Just a question about the green chili. What kind do you use and do you saute whole (not sliced/chopped) with the red onions in tomatoes in step 1?

  5. This is definitely one my most favourite dishes from home. Sadly, I don’t make it very often because I just can’t seem to get the right balance of flavours so I always end up disappointed with. My sister makes a real wicked pork version of sinigang, I miss that.

    Thanks for sharing Trissa!

  6. I love prawns to the extend that I have to carry anti-histamine with me just in case I get the bumps! This dish look so inviting.. I am now curious about the taste. thanks for the recipe!

  7. Beautiful post! It’s so interesting; I think this soup has quite a few variations in South East Asia. The Vietnamese also have their own version (one that I’m familiar with) and it too makes use of tamarind, fish sauce and so on. The basis is also seafood -great with the lovely citrusy sour notes. How wonderful it is to see both striking similarities and personal touches amongst different cuisines.

  8. C

    the picture really looks sumptous..however, i agree with Lexa i have never heard of cooking sinigang with sugar in it. Also, oil is never an ingredient for sinigang. Everything is just boiled and not sauteed.

  9. Macai26

    hahah, i also love this recipe. I am a filipino and we usually do this dish.. It’s really delicious and mouth-watering. But I really never add sugar on this. But I do saute onions, tomatoes, and shrimp, then add the broth of the shrimp, add the sour powder, let it boil and add the vegetables. :)

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