In Claude Tayag’s and Mary Ann Quioc’s Philippine food and travel book, Linamnam, they make mention of Sentro, a restaurant in Metro Manila that serves Corned Beef Sinigang (corned beef in a Filipino sour tamarind soup). Tayag and Quioc write:
“Sentro also dared to take the everyday sinigang a level higher by using fresh corned beef, something no one has ever thought of doing. Sentro’s corned beef short ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and served with plenty of the requisite kangkong, sitaw, talong and okra, and is kept hot in a fondue warmer, much to our delight, as we love our soup piping hot to the last spoonful.”
For those unfamiliar with Filipino food, corned beef is actually very popular in the Philippines, well, at least canned corned beef is very popular in the Philippines. Much like spam, instant coffee, and other American “convenience” foods, canned corned beef became a staple in Filipino cuisine following the U.S. occupation of the Philippines. So fresh corned beef is traditionally something very out of the ordinary for Filipinos, which makes Sentro’s Corned Beef Sinigang all the more intriguing.
After making my own home-cured corned beef last year, I vowed that I would try my own rendition of Corned Beef Sinigang the next time I made corned beef. Well, it being St. Patrick’s day and all, I made some corned beef and cabbage using the same recipe as last year. But this time, I reserved the broth in which the beef was simmered, and made a Sinigang base by souring the broth with lemon juice. For a quick refresher on some of the various ways to make Sinigang, check out this old post of mine.
Unlike the version that Tayag and Quioc wrote about, I kept with the same cabbage and carrots that I usually simmer with my corned beef and kept them in the Sinigang, as opposed to using more traditional Filipino vegetables (though I did throw in some cherry tomatoes at the last second to add some more tang). However, if you’re going to try this at home, you can by all means throw some baby bok choy in the mix, along with some onions, long beans, and whatever you like in your Sinigang.
I’m not going to provide a recipe here. The main idea is to cure your own corned beef (or you can use store-bought, fresh corned beef) reserve the broth used to simmer the corned beef, then sour the broth to make it Sinigang.
The resultant soup was a great mix of Irish and Filipino methods of cooking (who would’ve thunk?). The spices I used to cure the corned beef (i.e. cinnamon, allspice, mustard seeds) went surprisingly well with the tangy Filipino-style broth.
Kiss me, I’m Irish-Filipino