(Chicago) – If the title sounds Greek to you, actually, it is Filipino and it means, the national stew of the Philippines is sinigang which is a dish composed of meat and vegetables stewed in a sour broth. Most typical sour agents are tamarind, guava fruit or kamias.  This dish is undoubtedly the most beloved and most popular of all Filipino stews. All the more it became popular when sinigang powder mix was invented and made the process of cooking sinigang very simple and quick.

But my problem with this powder mixes is the super high sodium content. You get the taste of the real sinigang, just as what the ads say, but it will slowly kill you. Worst effect on me is that I get skin breakouts because of too much sodium. So in short, we should avoid powder mixes.

There are many sinigang recipes online that use all natural ingredients. But most of them are still heavy on patis (fish sauce) for seasoning. Here’s one of the best recipes of sinigang that I have tried so far, adapted from Fe Villadolid’s special sinigang recipe published in Amy Besa’s book Memories of Philippine Kitchen. I substituted a few ingredients.



  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 pounds pork, cut into stew size pieces, 1 ½ x 1 ½ -inch
  • 5 medium plum tomatoes diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, halved lengthwise, 1 seeded and the other leave seeds
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 small turnips
  • 1 bunch spinach, about 16 ounces



Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, then reduce the heat and keep at a steady simmer.

In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the porl, tomatoes and onions and sauté until pork turns light brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the jalapenos, lemon juice, salt and water.

Add enough of the simmering water to the saucepan to cover the pork mixture. Partially cover and simmer until the pork is tender, 40 to 50 minutes.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

Stir in the eggplant and turnip and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly softened. Add the spinach, cover and simmer until spinach, turnip and eggplant are tender, about 5 minutes. Serve over steamed rice.