Yup, it sounds bizarre. But it tasted pretty good. I think anything with a ham bone at its core usually turns out pretty good. The original idea was to try making a sinigang with an unripe pineapple as the souring agent. Thus far, I have made sinigangs of all kinds with raw tamarind or sampaloc, also with guavas, batwan, kamias, green mangoes, santol, sampaloc leaves, etc. Still on my list were sinigangs with “green pineapple”, alibangbang leaves, unripe sineguelas, and a few other less well known ingredients which sometimes find their way into sinigang across the archipelago. So we picked a rather har and apparently unripe, hopefully sour pineapple on our way back to Manila from Tagaytay. It seemed promising… but I had to get over one major hurdle…my fairly strong allergy to pineapples… I figured I could cook the dish, but would have to rely on others to taste it.
I had done some research and it turns out that truly “green” pineapples can be quite poisonous, and I suspect when people make a sour sinigang, they are using a pineapple just on the cusp of turning sweet, lest they give themselves massive stomach aches… though cooking seems to kill off some of the more toxic effects of an unripe pineapple. A day or two later, I decided to make the sinigang before the pineapple got riper, but after peeling it, it was obvious that despite its green skin, it was already rather sweet inside. Worse, I discovered there wasn’t any appropriate pork or beef in the house for a sinigang, so I changed gears and decided to experiment with an altogether different type of soup. First I made a ham bone stock, then added the peeled and cubed fresh pineapple, mashing some of a pieces to extract the juices. After several minutes of boiling, I added some prawns, sliced ham and lastly, the sliced savoy cabbage and seasoned as necessary…
The results? Not a slam dunk winner, but a pretty good soup (I had two bowls of it, and the cooked pineapple caused only 10-20% of my normal allergic reaction to fresh pineapple). The ham broth overwhelmed the pineapple a little, but the pineapple provided a nice sweet/sour note to the soup. The prawns were yummy and the slices of ham provided little bursts of protein and salt. If you have made a “green pineapple” sinigang before, may I ask if your primary source of protein in the soup was pork, beef, fish or shrimp? And what other souring agents can I experiment with to complete my quest for the ultimate sour Pinoy sinigang??? Thanks!