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Monday, September 26, 2011

Sour Soups

Pork Sinigang
Around Southeast Asia, there's a tradition of making sour soups. The Thai have tom yum, there's the Vietnamese canh chua, and of course, the Filipino sinigang. Sour soups are actually a bit of a misnomer, as these dishes can be significantly more substantial than western style soups - one should actually think of them more as thin stews. The components can vary on the main components of the soup (sinigang tends to involve a meat - pork being a personal favorite - or fish component, and an array of vegetables), and the souring agent used (tamarind, unripe guava, kamias, even miso), but they are almost always accompanied by rice.

Sinigang Rice, Kanin House, Quezon City, Philippines
One ingenious application I encountered flips this formula completely around to make a "dry" sinigang. The broth itself cooked into the rice, and the vegetables are served as tempura around the dish. The flavors, sour and savory, are all there, but texture and composition are completely different.

Incidentally, this is likely inspired by a Filipino play on words: sinangag is the word for fried rice.

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