Sinigang na sugpo

10 03 2011

Sinigang na sugpo

A SMALL wicker basket full of freshly picked “kamias” (cucumber tree fruit) greeted me at the door the other night.  I knew instantly that one of our family friends had come earlier in the day for a visit.  “So, what do you plan to do with me?” the pile of kamias seemed to have foisted its question on me.  Yes, fresh produce and I carry conversations.  (But there’s no need to alert the mental institution.  Hahaha!)

I love kamias three ways.  Washed three times and then eaten fresh with a good sprinkling of salt with each bite.  Sautéed with fresh shrimp fry, then eaten with heaps of steaming hot white rice.  And the best of all, used as the souring agent in the Filipino sinigang na hipon o sugpo (shrimps or prawns in a soured broth with lots of fresh vegetables).

Sinigang is a hallmark of Filipino cuisine.  It could be of meat of fish.  Hot.  Warm.  Comforting.  Familiar.

The yummy fat from perfectly cooked meat – and all the cholesterol it sneaks in into our system – that rises to the surface of broth that goes crazy into a rolling boil, proves irresistible.  Doused over steamed rice, it drowns any of the human body’s silent protests and attempts to eat healthily, as it anchors in one spoon plump pristine white rice, tender meat, and crisp vegetables that give off a resounding snap when caught in between bites.  The sound reverberates as if giving a soundtrack to the melange of sour and salty that causes a party in the mouth.

But I’ll give up all that for a bowl of sinigang na sugpo.  Which was exactly what I did the following day.

But lest any of you interprets it to be an act of atonement in Briony Tallis proportions, well, think again.  Because the very reason I prefer shrimps or prawns over pork or beef is the deep orange fat these crustaceans promise.  The very same thing I put a premium on when it comes to crabs, the best of which I’ve had at my sister-in-law’s house in Pampanga.

Really fat, as in F-A-T, crabs!

I often end up eating with my bare hands when faced with a pile of shrimps, prawns, or crabs.  And while I do check myself from time to time if I would need to reach for Lipitor, I honestly don’t bother.  Those are times when the words control and restraint mean nothing to me.

Please excuse me while I sip this hot broth.

The fresh prawns


Check out that deep orange fat!


The root aromatic I add to the broth is onions, diced.


Before adding tomatoes to the broth, I first have them blanched separately. I remove the part where the stems attach, almost like "coring," then I score the whole length by running the tip of a sharp paring knife from the top, all the way around.


See how easily the skins get removed? These are now ready to be seeded, then chopped. Obviously, tomato skins and seeds in my broth are a pet peeve.


"Kang kong"... or, swamp cabbage (when I'm on social mountain climbing mode... hahaha!)


Happiness in a bowl!


Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.




One response

11 03 2011

i love sinigang! and i love “when i’m on social mountain climbing mode”! hahahaha! 🙂


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