Another Pilipino comfort food is Sinigang. Sinigang has many faces – it can be made with pork, chicken, fish, prawns, or beef; with as many souring agents like green tamarind, lemon juice, calamansi juice, green mangoes, balingbing (carambola), camias, batuan, green tomatoes, and whatever sour fruit you find and that includes santol. It’s basically a sour soup much like the Thai Tom Yum soup with out the fiery chili.


  • 1 kilo corned beef brisket or just plain beef brisket – cut into 2-inch length and 1-inch thick pieces (ask your local butcher to corn the beef brisket; what is always available is silverside but one needs a bit of fat to make this savory dish)
  • ½ of whole watermelon (if big or whole if small) – sliced and seeded into 2-inch by 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 whole onion cut into eight parts
  • 3 pieces dried galangal or 1 tablespoon fresh ginger – julienne sliced (like little matchsticks) or 1 lemon grass white stalk – chopped finely
  • ½ cup tamarind paste or 1 to 2 cubes sinigang flavor or 1 to 2 tablespoons sinigang powder mix or 1 cup fresh green tamarind juice from 1 cup fresh green tamarind boiled with 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 long chilies – green or red
  • 3 – 4 taro – use the small ones, peel (if using the bigger ones, cut into ping-pong ball size
  • 1 bunch Kangkong (water spinach) – cut into 3-inch lengths – soak in water for 15 minutes
  • 1 bunch pole beans – cut into 3 inch lengths
  • 12 pieces okra (lady finger) – do not cut
  • fish sauce to taste – start with 1 tablespoon
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste – start with ¼ teaspoon


  1. In a large casserole, over medium fire, heat casserole till warm and then place the oil.
  2. When oil is hot, place the beef and sear. Do this in batches and remove from the casserole.
  3. Sauté the garlic and onions till the onions are translucent.
  4. Put in all the watermelon slices and ginger or galangal. Cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add in the beef slices; cover pot and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Add the chilies and tamarind paste; continue simmering till tender (about 1 hour or so).
  7. Add the taro and simmer for 15 minutes or till the taro can be pierced with a fork.
  8. Check the taste; adjust with fish sauce and pepper.
  9. When done, add the pole beans; simmer for 3 minutes; then add the kangkong; simmer for 1 minute.
  10. Serve hot with steamed rice; with fish sauce or soy sauce or bagoong for dipping.