Sinigang sa Sabaw ng Buko

I had my first taste of sinigang sa buko (sour soup in coconut water) when I made a trip to Palawan many years ago. Sobrang tagal na I can’t even remember the year. Anyway, I never had it prior and thought it was wonderful.  Coconut water lends a hint of sweetness and lifts the flavour of the dish.

Since I moved here in Australia, I only attempted to make it once and it was sadly a failed attempt. It ended up too sweet for my liking, so something must have gone wrong. I realised this was because of the coconut water I used.  Fresh coconut juice here is scarce and too pricey if available so I just usually get bottled ones sourced from Thailand. Although it tastes great as a refreshing drink, its floral undertone wasn’t suitable for use in a savoury dish like sinigang. It’s sweet by itself without needing to add any sugar. I used to wonder if it’s artificially sweetened but then I realised they are not. I recently tried it fresh and its juice tastes the same as bottled. I can’t really say I prefer it though. Memories of home are entwined with every drop of our own buko juice. Ang drama ano? Pero iba pa rin talaga ang nakasanayan at nakalakihan. Agree?

I’m not the one who easily gives up, so I decided to give it another go. Perhaps I told myself, I can try another brand. So, there I was at the grocery aisle and I instinctively grabbed the first one that caught my eye. When I flipped the container to peep at the “made from” label, look at what I found:

Juice ko Lord, produced from the Philippines! This must be a sign, my sinigang sa buko dream is about to come true. Muntik na akong mag-hyperventilate sa tuwa. If you read my previous blog (here), you know that I am a proud advocate of Philippine made products. I had my doubts at first at baka kasi iba ang lasa. To my surprise, para lang akong bumili ng buko sa palengke. Yung sinasalin sa plastic, but obviously minus the coconut meat.

Bago pa maubos sa sobrang excitement, I saved myself some to cook sinigang na alimango. I was finally satisfied with the outcome. This is a simple recipe but it’s bursting with flavour. Of course, you may substitute it with other seafood (like hipon!). I haven’t tried using pork meat though. Mas mabilis kasi lutuin ang seafood plus the liquid doesn’t evaporate much so you’re left with more sabaw. The dami the sabaw, the better right?Heto na po ang recipe at syempre huwag natin kalimutan magluto ng kanin😃

Ingredients:

  • Crabs, thoroughly cleaned and cut
  • 1 cup fresh coconut water
  • Juice of ½ lemon (or 4 calamansi, adjust if you don’t want it too tangy)
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 big tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium sized red onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sized ginger (be generous if you want the spice to shine through)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (Healthy tip: go easy on salt or fish sauce when cooking shellfish. They already contain high amount of sodium, so you don’t want to add more)
  • Your choice of usual sinigang veggies (kangkong, eggplant, okra, etc.)

How to make:

  • Sauté ginger and onion in oil. Once onion is slightly translucent, add in tomatoes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. I find that this helps bring out that ginisa flavor better. Tomatoes also sweat a lot quicker, so you can get the juices out. You want that for additional tamis asim.
  • Add the crabs and sauté for less than a minute just to infuse flavours of other ingredients.
  • Pour coconut water and cook until crabs turn slightly orange. Season with fish sauce.
  • Add vegetables last and turn off heat once cooked.

Ang dali ‘di ba? Let me know if you’ve tried it, I would love to hear your thoughts. Better yet, let me know if may iba pang quirky ways to prepare sinigang.

See you until next blog!

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