Let me tell you about rainy days. In the middle of the scorching summer heat, it is a pleasant and an immensely welcomed treat to have light cooling rain-showers paired with a refreshing breeze. This kind of day smells and feels like home to me (aaah, the tropical monsoon), hence comes a craving for comfort food.
Sinigang Phở – a Filipino-Vietnamese fusion of 2 quintessential dishes from South-East Asia. This is the first time I have tried combining these two recipes, and what an incredible surprise!
Sinigang is a classic savoury sour soup from the Philippines, typically taking its signature sour flavor from tamarind, guava, miso or kamias. It can be cooked with beef, pork, prawns or fish, and is commonly eaten with steamed white rice and fish sauce on the side. It is one of those dishes that you remember your grandma or your mom cooking for you, especially when you’re not feeling well. Home-cooked food at its very essence, I tell you.
Phở, on the other hand, is a Vietnamese noodle soup defined by a clear broth, flat rice noodles, a couple of herbs (mainly coriander and mint), and meat (beef or chicken). This might have been my gateway dish to (my-now-in-the-top-5-favorite) Vietnamese cuisine. The simplicity and cleanliness of the taste and flavor of Phở is enough to seduce me to the rest of the Vietnamese fare. I mean, really, a good bowl of noodle soup just makes so much sense, right? And combine that with coriander and meat?! Ha, total sense! Check out this interesting history of Phở to truly comprehend the influence of this dish.
Now, let’s get cooking!
1.5 L beef/chicken broth (boil beef shanks or scrap bones and meat with sea salt, carrots, celery, onions, and pepper corns for about 2-4 hours, and then pick out and set aside the solids leaving the stock for this recipe)
3 tbsp tamarind soup powder (Sinigang/tamarind soup mix is typically available in Asian shops)
2 tbsp patis/fish sauce
200-250g flat rice noodles
1 small zucchini, julienned and the middle part cut into cubes
4-6 pieces bone marrow
2/3 small cabbage, sliced
baby lettuce (optional)
1 small red thai chili (optional), sliced
skinless longganisa/Filipino sweet-savory sausage (optional), fried
In a large pot, bring the beef broth to boil. Add the tamarind powder (feel free to add more if you prefer a more sour soup), and fish sauce. Adjust the taste accordingly if you find it lacks salt or tamarind powder. Once the soup’s taste is well-balanced, add in the bone marrow. Let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cubed middle part of the zucchini and sliced cabbage. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and add the noodles. Cover and leave it for 5-8 minutes until noodles are cooked.
Time to serve!
Pour in some soup, noodles and veggies into individual bowls. Place one bone marrow per bowl. Garnish with julienned zucchini, baby lettuce, coriander, chili and crispy onions. Top with skinless longganisa if available. If you have the boiled beef shanks, you can also pull apart the slow-cooked meat and add it into the soup for a more hearty version of this dish.
Kain na! ✌︎