Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sinigang na Tuna (Tuna Stew in Tamarind)

When it comes to soupy dishes, “sinigang” (generic term for Filipino stew in many souring agent) is probably one of the most popular Filipino dishes. It can be applied to almost all meat and seafood. I even have workers before who use canned mackerel in their sinigang when fresh fish is not around. Like “linaga”, another common Filipino meat stew with vegetables, “sinigang” is probably widely accepted because it is easy to cook and could be served to big groups even by only using a relatively small quantity of the meat or fish. With the addition of many vegetables, one entrée could easily satisfy one family.

While “sinigang” is a favorite by most Filipinos, I am not totally impressed by it. I can actually live without it. Yes I’m not a fan, particularly the meat “sinigang”, which I usually avoid ordering in restaurant or eateries unless my companion likes it. Fish or seafood “sinigang” is a bit better for me, though still, I’m not so into it. But since most members of our group particularly like it, so I can’t really avoid having it once in a while. After all, for Filipino expats, “sinigang mix” is among the most common products one bring from holiday or vacations from the Philippines.

The traditional way that many consider as the secret to tasty sinigang is to cook it using rice washing. For as long as you are sure that the rice is not exposed to dust and smoke from pollution contaminants, you can also use rice washing, preferably the second wash.

So that I can somehow enjoy the “sinigang”, even a bit :-), I will use the gorgeous tuna we bought from the roaming store frequenting our area. This is a 1 kilo prime cut tuna perfect for “sinigang”. But I only used about 600 grams of the flesh which I cut into bite sizes and seasoned with 1 tsp salt. I reserved part of the prime meat for another dish, hopefully “kinilaw”, a Filipino ceviche type of dish.

The other ingredients are as follows: about 8 cups of rice washing, 2 medium onion, chopped, 4 pcs plum tomatoes, quartered, 5 pcs taro roots (“gabi”), peeled and sliced, 1 tsp salt or to taste, 4 pcs whole green chili, 2 bunches bok choy (“pechay”), washed and halve, and of course, 1 sachet sinigang mix in tamarind. This little packet of goodness makes cooking “sinigang” a lot easier for Filipinos. :)

You can use many other types of vegetable like “kangkong” (swamp cabbage or water spinach), radishes, okra, egg plant, green mustard, etc. I only limited mine for personal preference.

This is a stew type of cooking so use a heavy casserole. Fill it with about 8 cups of rice washing (you can use water if you prefer). On high heat let it boil. Add in the onion and tomato and simmer on medium heat. Once the tomato is a little mushy, add the taro roots and continue simmering.

Once the taro is tender slowly add the fish and continue cooking. Once the liquid is again boiling add the chili pepper and the salt. Once the fish is thoroughly cook, add in your sinigang mix and taste to adjust the saltiness according to your liking.

Once you are already happy with the taste and hungry with the smell, add your bok choy (“petchay”), cover and cook for another minute.

Transfer in a large serving bowl, prepare your steamed rice and serve alongside. Some fish sauce with chili dip will surely add the kick. Make sure you have a lot of rice. You will need it, I’m sure.

There it is, “sinigang na tuna”. Sourly delicious, just the way I can eat it. It’s quite good though. c“,)


  1. wow, well presented

  2. Thank you for this! Being half Filipino and currently away from home to study... I've missed Sinigang na Tuna and have begged my father to tell me how to cook it for myself :D This will help along the way... so happy I found a Chinese cash and carry where I found the tamarind sachet :)



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