Philippine Culinary Identity : Sinigang or Adobo ?
SINIGANG or ADOBO ? Fact is bothdishesrepresents the Philippine islands. Sinigang and Adobo have evolved to so many variations. If there are about 7,107 islands in the Philippines, maybe there are more than 7,000 ways to prepare both dishes, But no matter what Filipinos prefers to be their national dish, both offers endless possibilities–And one should be prepared to salivate!
A sour soup, marked as a Filipino comfort food , a blend of ingredients prepared to its sour perfection, enticing the palate, soothing the nerves, rousing the senses, Sinigang is a soul food – one will feel refreshed and nourished.
Food historians have often commended the virtues of sinigang -as a refreshing, energising, appetite-encouraging food and a perfect match for the humid tropical heat of the Philippine islands, according to Wikipedia. Food writer Doreen Fernandez suggested that its origins are most likely indigenous , the cooking method is said to be pre-Hispanic, and hence it may be considered the national dish of the Philippines.
Sinigang is a very versatile dish. There are different versions of sinigang: beef, pork, chicken, fish and shrimp. You can also put in a variety of vegetables: sigarillas(winged beans), bataw, eggplant, sitaw (long beans) and the green, leafy vegetable could be kangkong (swamp cabbage), or mustasa (mustard greens) . And for the souring agent, you can use tamarind, kamias, green mango, lime, vinegar, guava etc.. It’s the perfect dish for the rainy season….warm and satisfying.
BASIC SINIGANG NA BANGUS
(milkfish in tamarind broth)
1 Bangus (milkfish),medium sized
500 ml Water
1 tblspn Cooking Oil
3 pcs Tomatoes, sliced
40 grams Onion, sliced
250 ml Tamarind juice ( boil tamarind 1 cup water and extract the juice )
80 grams String beans, cut into 1-1.5”
100 grams Egg plant,sliced
50 grams Kangkong(water spinach) leaves
Patis or salt to taste
Clean and cut bangus into 3 pieces, set aside.
In a caserole, Sautee onion and tomatoes in oil
Add water, tamarind juice and bangus. Simmer for 5-8 mins.
Add string beans and eggplant. Simmer until vegetables are cooked.
Add kangkong over before serving.
Keep the lid off and let the flavors
Engulf the house to its rafters
Better yet open the doors
And windows, let your
Nosy neighbors envy you
of the delights
Of adobo– Leny Strobe
Adobo is the acknowledged Philippine national dish. It is the most popular dish close to the heart -or rather stomach !– of every Filipino. It could be argued that there is really no “national dish” that was set by law, but Adobo is no doubt the common denominator in every Filipino kitchen.
It is said that the word Adobo is a Spanish word for seasoning or marinade– the dish; Adobo is not introduced by the Spanish colonizers. The cooking process of stewing meat in vinegar is already being prepared by the early Filipino families –long before the conquistadores came. The Spaniards only referred to it as Adobo due to its similarity to their process of marinating. Adobo is truly Filipino–created by our ancestors.
To say that Adobo is just one dish is an understatement. The cooking method has gone beyond the pork and chicken boundary and led to cooking just about anything to Adobo-from beef, carabeef (water buffalo meat), goat meat, to fish, seafood such as squid, shrimp and sea shells, poultry such as duck quail, to vegetables such as long beans, eggplants and kangkong (water spinach) and even to the exotic foods —such as frog, field mice and balut (duck embryo).
Undoubtedly, Adobo is unique as its people and diverse as its culture!
BASIC CHICKEN AND PORK ADOBO
1 kg Chicken pieces
½ k Pork Liempo(Pork belly), 2-2.5”
1 ¼ c Cane Vinegar
1 tblspn Salt
½ tspn Black pepper, freshly crushed
5 tblspn Garlic, minced
1 pc Bay leaf
2 tblspn Vegetable oil
(fried /toasted garlic–optional)
In a large pan, brown chicken and pork. Set aside.