Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sinigang na Hipon (Shrimp Cooked in Tamarind)

Sinigang is the Filipinos' answer to the Chinese Hot and Sour Soup and the Thai's Tom Yum Goong. Sinigang features just like its counterparts an ingredient that imparts the sourness to the soup and usually it is tamarind just like what the Thais use.  The Chinese use vinegar.

Most Filipinos especially those living in the United States have been using packets of tamarind soup mix from the Asian stores. I have used it in a sinigang recipe in a past blogpost.

I have also used frozen tamarind paste from the Asian store in the plant based version of sinigang in a past blogpost. Either sources of tamarind worked for me. My talented sister, Bebeng, who cooked this delicious shrimp version of sinigang used the packet mix for her recipe featured in this post.

Any cut of meat or seafood can be used to prepare sinigang including pork, beef, salmon, milkfish, or shrimp. My sister opted to use large Argentinian shrimp she purchased from the Island Pacific grocery store in Los Angeles.

For the source of hotness in the dish banana peppers were added whole during cooking which can then be opened by the person being served by choice. The saltiness is imparted by the fish sauce or patis both during the cooking process and also as a condiment when eating the dish.

Kangkong or water spinach which is available in Asian stores was used in this recipe but plain spinach or kale can also be used as the green leafy vegetable for this dish. Other vegetables like Daikon radishes, green beans can also be added as well as the usual vegetable ingredients tomatoes and onions.  My sister chose to add lemon grass and ginger in this recipe which I usually do not use. I consider them optional ingredients since they are not usually used by Filipinos in their sinigang.

My sister has a secret ingredient in her sinigang or other fish soup dish. Chicken broth! This contributes added richness without being a distraction. I usually do not use it but you can like she did.

The method of cooking is simple and involves sauteing and boiling processes. No fancy steps. She actually cooked this while frying pork chops a favorite accompanying dish to this iconic delicious Filipino soup.

The tomatoes, onions, ginger are sauted in oil.

The banana peppers and fish sauce are then added to the sauted vegetables.

She adds the stalks of the kangkong, the large unpeeled shrimp, chicken broth, the tamarind or sinigang mix, lemon grass and water.

The mixture is allowed to boil till the kangkong stems and shrimp are cooked.

When the kangkong stems and shrimp are close to being done the kangkong leaves are added.

Sinigang is one of those dishes that leave you fully satisfied and happy during eating it and after. It is one of the Filipinos favorite comfort food and would be yours too.


My sister, Bebeng, lovingly ladles the steaming soup into bowls.

I thank my sister for cooking for me this and other fabulous dishes during my stay at her place. I am also grateful to her family and my other sister, Menchie and her extended family for their hospitality.

My sister Bebeng on the right with daughter, Jona, and husband, Jun.

Left to right myself, Menchie, Bebeng, Chris with Chaz during the party after the Mass for Mama Sol, Menchie's late mother in law.

Menchie, Chris, Bubut, Chris with Chazzie.

Mama Sol's other daughter Queenie with husband and children and son Louie.

Sinigang na Hipon (Shrimp Cooked in Tamarind)

(Recipe courtesy of my sister, Bebeng)
  • 4 tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 inches ginger, peeled and minced (optional)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 3 whole banana peppers
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, cut into two inch pieces and bundled together with rubber band or string (optional)
  • 2 tbsp patis or fish sauce and more as condiment 
  • 2 dozen large shrimps (Argentinian shrimp was used)
  • 4 stalks or more Kangkong or water spinach, stems and leaves separated
  • 2 cans chicken broth
  • 2 packets tamarind soup mix
  • Water just enough so liquid part is barely above the solid mixture
Saute the first three ingredients in oil. Then add the rest of the ingredients except the kangkong leaves. Allow the mixture to boil. When the shrimp and kangkong stems are almost done add the kangkong leaves.

Serve with rice and more fish sauce as a condiment.

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