23 Nov2008


A few days ago I purchased half of a pork belly (one whole side of a pig’s stomach) because I wanted to experiment with a simple home-made bacon recipe that I saw in Saveur magazine. I had the butcher debone the belly, and cut the meat into two large pieces, weighing just under two kilos a piece. Back at home, I seasoned one piece and it has been “curing” in the fridge for a few days, while we turned the other half of the belly into lechon kawali, and with leftovers, a recycled meal tomorrow of binagoongang lechon kawali… But what do with a kilo or so of ribs with quite a bit of meat left on them intentionally…


For a simple, highly comforting lunch, I decided to try making a pork rib sinigang. Just place all of the ribs in a pot and fill with water to cover all the ribs and bring to a boil. Skim off any scum that forms and boil gently for about an hour until the meat is soft and the broth is flavorful. About 30 minutes into the cooking, I added chopped onions, some peppercorns and a few chopped green onions or leeks. I then added sinigang mix (yes, I do use instant mixes once in a while :), some salt and tasted the broth and adjusted seasoning accordingly. A few minutes later, I added cabbage and some baby bok choy and it was ready to serve. The odd mix of ingredients was a result of a near-empty refrigerator after several days out of town. So we just had to make do with what was available. The result? Delicious. Tasty and incredibly satisfying. The meat was practically falling off the bone… Pass the rice, please. :)



  1. lojet says:

    I do cook boiled pork ribs often but I just use ginger ,sauteed garlic onions and tomato and when tender i add potatoes, green beans and cabbage and lastly green bell pepper. In Cebu we call it linat-an maybe that’s eqivalent to nilaga in tagalog.

    Nov 23, 2008 | 1:25 pm


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  3. Joey Pacheco says:

    Yummy! Sinigang is my all-time favorite ulam (well- next to lechon after that eyeball)! Hey MM- how about a ‘Sinigang Festival’ for the next eyeball?

    Nov 23, 2008 | 2:07 pm

  4. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Comfort ‘ulam’…….mmmmmmmm

    Nov 23, 2008 | 2:26 pm

  5. rose says:

    hi MM,

    im just wondering cabbage in sinigang… wow!

    Nov 23, 2008 | 3:33 pm

  6. Michael says:

    Is that how Cebuanos cook sinigang, with peppercorns? I once had the same sinigang with “pamintang buo” and potatoes at a turo-turo on the LES and was suspecting that the service crew just combined leftover nilaga and sinigang. My mom said the cook must be Visayan. She also tells me she has been served sinigang with carrots(and other greens that Tagalogs don’t normally use in this dish) while living in Cebu. Almost everybody here uses spinach in place of kangkong. I once did it with salt while still an FOB totally clueless as to where to find patis overseas and it lacked a familiar taste. I tried to salvage it with a dousing of soy sauce which only made it worse. We love our sinigang extra tart my father complains that it’s paksiw already.

    Nov 23, 2008 | 3:38 pm

  7. joan says:

    wow, this is perfect with patis and calamansi! and the ribs make the broth more flavorful than just using belly or lean meat. pass the rice back to me please!!!:)

    Nov 23, 2008 | 3:57 pm

  8. joan says:

    joey,i’m sure you’re just using the sinigang as an excuse for another eyeball!! hahahaha

    Nov 23, 2008 | 3:58 pm

  9. zena says:

    Pork ribs are the best, the tastiest part of the pig! I’ll have it cooked any which way as long as the meat is tasty and soft. =)

    Nov 23, 2008 | 5:31 pm

  10. Maki says:

    OMG… pork rib is my favorite part… specially in lechon.. ^__^

    Nov 23, 2008 | 6:26 pm

  11. erbie says:

    My favourite dish of all time.What a timely post.We were just discussing siniggang yesterday.Sadly Mindanaoans don’t cook it as much as people from Luzon and NCR.I just had this for lunch two times this week.Let’s cook 3 more calderos of rice,backup lang. As rice tends to disappear rather quickly when siniggang is on the table.please pass the rice…

    Nov 23, 2008 | 7:07 pm

  12. mikel says:

    can’t believe you haven’t had pork ribs sinigang before MM.

    Nov 23, 2008 | 8:54 pm

  13. Mimi says:

    I stopped using sinigang mix when I discovered assam paste, tamarind pulp with seeds from real sampaloc, which tastes way lot better. For 1/2 kilo pork belly, I use around 2 heaping tablespoons of tamarind, mashed in water and strained into the cooked pork belly (simmered in water with onions, tomatoes and baby gabi), then add sili sigang, talong, sitaw and kangkong. Seasoned with patis and more freshly squeezed calamansi juice to taste. My family always has sinigang at least one weekend.

    Nov 23, 2008 | 9:13 pm

  14. sasha says:

    my mum calls pork rib ‘tadjang’ – hence it was sinigang na tadjang at our house…nice rhyme to it don’t you agree? lol. i love all your pork posts MM. i don’t eat pork myself but your 101 ways of cooking it are fascinating to me. keep it up!!

    Nov 23, 2008 | 9:18 pm

  15. maila says:

    i make steamed tausi spare ribs from left over pork ribs. its very easy. cut the ribs into segments and if u can cut them into 1 inch lenghts, it would be better. lightly drench the spare ribs with cornstarch. put them in a plate or small bowl (make sure plate or bowl fits in your steamer), add minced garlic, a little sugar, small amount of black bean sauce, chopped labuyo and a drizzle of sesame oil . then steam it for 25 to 30 minutes. serve with lots of steamed rice. yummm!

    Nov 23, 2008 | 10:36 pm

  16. Vanessa says:

    This looks so simple, and, more importantly, so inspiringly easy! I’m excited for the post on the binagoongan and the lechon kawali. ;-)

    Nov 23, 2008 | 10:40 pm

  17. entrepgirl says:

    i love all types of sinigang, pork, fish, shrimp, beef and even chicken too. but my favorite is the liempo part, cut into small pieces, minus the bones, added with sinigang with sili mix. yummy!

    Nov 23, 2008 | 10:47 pm

  18. izang says:

    sinigang is like a staple in our home….at least once a week my mom cooks pork sinigang….especially if its raining….don’t know why but the combination of a cold rainy day and a hot bowl of sinigang kind of makes a good match, doesn’t it?…hehehe…..

    Nov 23, 2008 | 11:05 pm

  19. maria says:

    yummy. i like the broth used from the 2nd rinse of rice.

    Nov 24, 2008 | 12:13 am

  20. myra_p says:

    Mimi, where can I buy assam paste? I don’t think I’ve seen it in Manila yet…

    Nov 24, 2008 | 12:21 am

  21. betty q. says:

    myra_p…assam paste….Thai or Vietnamese stores or the Ethnic/Oriental aisle of grocery stores?

    Nov 24, 2008 | 2:18 am

  22. myra_p says:

    betty_q, haven’t seen this around, and I do shop in many places around manila, including the “ethnic” aisles of groceries. Interesting terminology though. Since filipinos are generally called ethnic or oriental by non-asians, in reverse, shouldn’t our version of a real “ethnic” aisle be non-asian? ie, “ethnic” french goods like pate, smelly cheese, or tinned smoked oysters, pumpernickel, horseradish, and all other things a regular filipino would have no love for? It’s like a mexican grocery having a “hispanic” aisle and stocking it with colombian coffee, brazilian corned beef, chilean wine, peruvian asparagus… :P

    Nov 24, 2008 | 7:39 am

  23. Angela says:

    Hi Mimi- where do you purchase assam paste?

    Nov 24, 2008 | 7:57 am

  24. betty q. says:

    My apologies!…Myra_P: I am used to the grocery aisles here having the “specialized goods” on those marked ..like place of origin…I.E. mango pulp would be on “ethnic isle”..origin : India …or the salsa stuff would be on “mexican”…or the tomyum paste …for purposes only of convenience to shoppers I guess and for no other reason. Like I know which aisle to hit if I am looking for mango pulp or mango chutney even with my eyes closed! If I were to shop in a grocery store that is close to 21,000 sq. ft., like I do not want to waste my time l0ooking through evry aisle in search for 1 particular item.

    I am not familiar with the set-up of the grocery stores there! Maybe you do have a point and maybe the grocery stores should consider marking their aisles in such mannner.

    If it is matter of terminology, I guess “IMPORTED” would be a better choice of word?

    Nov 24, 2008 | 8:12 am

  25. betty q. says:

    MYRA_P:….just aked my hubby (woke him up!) just to ask him …since he is more familiar with grocery set-up. Since we are in North America…goods that are processed elsewhere like India, China, Japan, Indonesia falls under the category of ETHNIC…Therefore, in Manila, grocery stores according to him should mark their aisle having goods such as Greek Olive Oil, marinated Italian Artichokes, Mango Chutneys as ETHNIC… YOU ARE INDEED RIGHT, MYRA_P!!!!!

    But he says, if it was MY GROCERY STORE, I can NAME THE AISLES ANYTHING I WANT!!!! but then again he said, I would need about 50,000 square feet!!!…hahaha

    Nov 24, 2008 | 8:38 am

  26. cumin says:

    Mimi, is assam paste just the sort of semi-dried brown tamarind pulp with seeds wrapped in plastic? If so, I’ve seen this in Assad’s, an Indian grocery along Jupiter St, Makati (and several other Indian groceries along UN Avenue). There’s also a surprisingly good Asian section at the Metro Gaisano supermarket in Ayala Cebu — great source for stuff from Japan, China, Korea, Viet Nam, Thailand, Malaysia etc — and that’s where I found the belachan!

    Nov 24, 2008 | 9:17 am

  27. pinoycontests says:

    I love sinigang! And one of the most flavorful part of pork is always the ribs. Yum!

    Nov 24, 2008 | 11:07 am

  28. Mimi says:

    myra_p, angela, cumin: i am singapore-based and i totally forgot that manila nga pala ang marketmanila…sorry, but yes, it is the brown block of tamarind pulp with seeds wrapped in plastic, usually imported from thailand. here in sing 50 cents lang isang small balot sa wet market. when in manila, i do go to the palengke and get a handful of sampaloc, whole fruit and all from my suki (she still gives libre 2 pcs of red sili pansigang when i get all the sangkap from her)- boil the sampaloc in water until mushy, mash in the boiled water and strain. Much more labor than just buying the assam paste, but our local sampaloc tastes more tart than the thailand assam paste.

    Nov 24, 2008 | 11:35 am

  29. deirdregurl says:

    i love sinigang. and like izang’s family from above, i cook this at home when it’s raining. i cooked mine with onions, tomatoes, string beans, talong, raddish, kangkong, siling mahaba, salt to taste, pork ribs & yes, i use the sinigang mix as well :)so yummy with patis!!!

    Nov 24, 2008 | 12:32 pm

  30. myra_p says:

    lol@ Betty_q… Apologies to your husband for his interrupted sleep.

    Cumin, thanks for the tip on Assad’s. Im always looking for a way to avoid msg, and the assam paste sounds like a convenient way to skip sinigang mix.

    Mimi, how much fresh sampaloc to make a pot of sinigang really sour? Like Micheal, i like my sinigang extra tart!

    Nov 24, 2008 | 1:18 pm

  31. betty q. says:

    Hey, that’s OK ..Myra_P….gave me an excuse to wake him up since it was time he woke up anyway from his 4 p.m. nap…

    When is sampaloc season anyway? …just a thought…if sampaloc is in season and there is a bumper crop, how about making a whole pot of mushy sampaloc (PARA ISA NA LANG HIRAP!!!!!), cool it down , then strain, and then pack them in small zip ploc or ice cube trays and freeze….just plop as much frozen sampaloc cubes as you want in your sinigang…

    Would that work for you, Myra_P?

    Nov 24, 2008 | 1:42 pm

  32. greasemonkey says:

    =) if any dish could rival adobo in terms of popularity and ease in preparation, it would be sinigang! imho, it even one ups adobo by the (pratically) incalculable number of ways you could prepare it.

    my favorite is sinigang na alimango sa bayabas, with sinigang na baboy sa bayabas a very close second (i used to get liempo and ribs for this but lately just tenderloin and a bunch of bones have had to suffice).

    hope you guys are all doing well. ingat!

    Nov 24, 2008 | 2:01 pm

  33. Joey Pacheco says:

    Kahit naman sa lechon, yung ribs part ang best… well- next to the balat of course. I think it’s because of the perfect fat-to-lean meat ratio plus it has direct contact with the stuffing/spices. Oh my… hungry again!

    Nov 24, 2008 | 2:51 pm

  34. kiko says:

    hello there mimi!

    Thanks for the “assam paste” idea. How does the finished sinigang soup look though? Brownish ba like the paste? I prefer my sinigang clear…

    thanks for your help…

    Nov 24, 2008 | 3:05 pm

  35. nina says:

    I always use pork/beef ribs for sinigang. I don’t think any other part would be as good. I also like pork ribs for adobo. Yummy….

    Nov 24, 2008 | 3:08 pm

  36. James says:

    I’ve been having fun with pork ribs lately, myself. Right now, perfecting the braising/roasting process in my oven. So good … definitely, best part of the pig!

    Unfortunately, here in little Tacloban, pork ribs are hard to get (unless you know a secret location or two and I’m NOT telling) …

    Nov 24, 2008 | 8:39 pm

  37. Maria Clara says:

    Sinigang is very portable dish with all the various souring agents out in the market and real comfort food and any leftover is good the day after.

    Nov 25, 2008 | 4:53 am

  38. Mimi says:

    myra_p: 2 years ago pa ako last namalengke sa manila, pero I ask for mga Php10 worth of sampaloc back then, siguro mga less than 1/4 kilo yun nun, my suki just gets a handful from her bilao and wraps in newspaper. i’m not sure how sour you want your sinigang, but yung asim nun, maasim pero hindi ka naman ngiwi sa asim.
    kiko: oo, may tinge ng brown, pero not the colour brown-brown as the paste, kaya nga I use only 2Tbsp of the paste and add the juice of abour 6 freshly squeezed calamansi towards the end of cooking.

    Nov 25, 2008 | 9:03 pm

  39. Ileryo says:

    Sinigang na pork ribs with pork belly (leimpo) for the taba woohooooo! FOr me, pork sinigang without taba is dull. hehehehe. chow out!

    Nov 26, 2008 | 5:11 am

  40. kiko says:

    thanks ulit Mimi!

    I’ll give it a go…

    Nov 26, 2008 | 7:13 am

  41. Quillene says:

    betty q,

    Thanks for the wonderful idea! Will have a good alternate to supermarket sinigang mixes….

    I still remember my grandmother and our old cook holding a strainer over the boiling pot of sinigang and juicing the sampalok which were at the time plentiful in the palengke…

    Thanks again!

    Nov 26, 2008 | 9:14 am

  42. millet says:

    ..and the sinigang flavor changes withthe type of sampaloc that you use. i prefer sinigang made with ripe sampaloc – the flavor is more complex than simply sour. there’s a slightly sweet note, and heartier flavor, and the color of the soup is deeper.

    Nov 26, 2008 | 3:09 pm

  43. stethacp says:

    Hi MM! Tried this last night and loved your recipe. I also used instant sinigang mix which is not bad. Thanks for sharing as always.

    Dec 5, 2008 | 7:38 am

  44. Sher says:

    Hi MM!

    Yum!!! I love Pork Sinigang. Back in Manila, I remember we just used fresh sampalok cooked in the sinigang broth and then extract the juice. If needed, we just add a bit more of calamansi juice. I found this to be way better than the Sinigang mixes found in the supermarkets. Unfortunately there’s no fresh tamarind here in Oz so tyaga lang sa sinigang mix.

    Dec 11, 2008 | 10:58 am


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