Philippine Milkfish Sinigang

How about a super healthy, super yummy native cuisine of stewed milkfish? This one’s stacked with vegetables loaded with fibers, Vitamin A, antioxidants and lycopene that can only do one’s health good. And then the fish meat is cooked just right to get all its juicy, flavorsome quality all intact. This native dish is an all-time favorite in Filipino dinner tables.

“Sinigang” has several variants and they always come a bit sour. The origin of this native dish is not exactly known and one of the versions says it was accidentally discovered in a hasty preparation. A mix of ingredients was there but what to do about them was the problem. So the stuffs were all poured into a pot, boiled, and out came the native cuisine “sinigang.”

Cooking this native dish: for a kilo of milk fish (choose a single piece weighing a kilo, with gills, bile, and scales taken off) prepare the following: a bundle of “kangkong” leaves picked off from branch, 3 pieces eggplant sliced into 3 each, one piece peeled and chopped radish, a bundle of okra chopped in halves, 2 pieces long chili or “siling pula,” 7 pieces “kalamansi” or lemon squeezed in a cup (seeds taken out), sliced tomatoes, a teaspoon of salt or fish sauce (“patis”), and 4 cups water. Now we’re readu for this native cuisine.

After washing the fish, put it into a pot with the 4 cups of water, eggplants, radish, tomatoes, long chili, and boil. When boiling, watch if the fish’s eyes have popped out. If so, bring this native dish into a simmer. Add lemon, okra, “kangkong,” and teaspoon of salt or fish sauce. After half a minute, serve while hot. This native cuisine serves 4 to 5 people.

This native cuisine is best served with a small saucer of fish sauce where the long chili from the milkfish stew is sliced. This makes for an excellent dip for the Philippine milkfish “sinigang.” This menu also comes with pork or beef. But for the longer hours of boiling to tenderize the meat, everything in the procedure stays the same. Philippine milkfish “sinigang” is superb with its traditional partner, “tortang giniling” or ground pork (or beef) omelet. Eaten together, the chemistry of the native dishes bring out a subtle taste that is contrasting yet complementary.

Philippine milkfish “sinigang” has been a proven native cuisine that continues to satisfy discriminating gourmets. For decades it has been a reliable native dish in spur of the moment dinner preparations because it’s easy to cook.

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