24 Feb2009


Some Saturdays we feel really lazy and want to just buy our lunch and eat it in the comfort of home… in other words, not eat at a restaurant. And if I happen by the Salcedo market, I will almost always drop by at Tita Cely Kalaw’s stall and I don’t really have to think at all… a couple of orders of laing, several more of langka in gata, some bicol express, lechon kawali and occasionally a soup catches my fancy. Last Saturday, I was stunned by the size of the fish heads in her sinigang sa miso and I decided to try her soup. One order included half of a humongous fish head, several cups of broth and a nice amount of mustasa (mustard greens) and other veggies. The photos here were taken outdoors under the dapples sunlight in the shadows of a santol tree. The reheated soup was absolutely delicious. The broth had a wonderful balance of sourness, saltiness and murkiness or mouth feel. The fish was delicious and the whole bowl screamed simple yet delicious comfort food. If you will recall, I did a post on a similar dish, albeit made with dalag or mudfish, a couple of months ago, here.


I have never cooked this particular dish at home, but I sure want to learn how to. After all, this is yet another version of sinigang to add to the many versions I have featured so far on this blog, some soured with tamarind, others with green mango, batuan, kamias, guava, etc. If you want to see nearly a dozen different sinigang recipes, click here and scroll down the main post for links to other sinigang versions featured here on marketmanila.com. Oh, and while I am on the subject of sinigang, can you think of any other souring agents used in sinigang besides, tamarind, vinegar, kamias, green mangoes, unripe sineguelas, guavas, batuan, sampaloc leaves, alibangbang, unripe pineapple, santol, balimbing, kalamansi or dayap or other citrus?



  1. Uniok says:

    Nagimasen! Souring agent? how about knorr or maggie.
    Just kidding…Sarisa fruit?

    Feb 24, 2009 | 5:46 pm


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  3. meekerz says:

    one thing i’ve always been curious and confused about: is filipino miso (as in sinigang sa miso) the same as japanese miso (miso soup)?

    Feb 24, 2009 | 5:48 pm

  4. Uniok says:

    MM used the souring agent filipinized miso, the Japanese miso soup is not sour.I think both are made of soybeans.

    Feb 24, 2009 | 5:57 pm

  5. millet says:

    this is our most favorite fish to make sinigang with, because it is consistently fat and tender and succulent. and sinigang sa miso with mustard leaves makes the best sinigang na maya-maya! we especially love the red maya-maya.

    with lapu-lapu, you take chances with the fish not being fat, and the skin becomes very tough with cooking, and the fillets curl up.

    Feb 24, 2009 | 5:58 pm

  6. betty q. says:

    With Sinigang with Miso, MM …I use any miso I can find in the Asian Markets…red or white. I have used both. I also use salmon head…readily available. here. I just saute ginger and onion in the oil. then I add the miso. Saute a bit then add water and whole tomatoes, squished with my fingers. Season the broth with tamarind and let it come to a boil. Adjust seasoning…miso can be salty. Then I add labanos, eggplant and gabi. When tender, I add the salmon head and romaine letuuce if I don’t have mustasa. This is comfort food for my siblings as well. Our dip…patis with calamansi.

    Feb 24, 2009 | 6:05 pm

  7. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Mmmmm good….

    Feb 24, 2009 | 6:29 pm

  8. Joey Pacheco says:

    sinigang…ahhh- wala nang tatalo pa! except perhaps bulalo :-)

    Feb 24, 2009 | 8:03 pm

  9. Doddie from Korea says:


    You are a domestic goddess! Thank you for the wonderful sinigang sa miso recipe. I have been looking for one that my mom makes. And that’s how she makes it. I’m copying it now and once again thank you so much.



    Feb 24, 2009 | 8:20 pm

  10. Nina says:

    I saute garlic, onions and tomatoes then add long, hot pepper, frozen miso (made in the Phil., purchased at oriental store), sinigang mix and water and let it boil for about 10 minutes. I then add salmon fillet (no head as the kids won’t it), cook a bit then add mustard green, labanos and patis to taste. Comfort food at its best!

    Feb 24, 2009 | 11:05 pm

  11. butsoy says:

    I used mustard greens before in my sinigang, and it turned out to be “bitter” Is it the kind that I bought? I don’t remember mustasa back home as bitter…

    Feb 25, 2009 | 3:09 am

  12. fudcrmnl says:

    hi Marketman,

    I stumbled upon your site through Tony Bourdain’s blog. Thank the food gods for people like you! I’ve been searching the net for credible Filipino food sites and up until this point was always disappointed. The recipes posted were amateurish as well as the blog posts. I guess the search is finally over.

    I was born and raised in QC but moved to Chicago fourteen years ago. I’m very passionate about travelling and a self-proclaimed foodie, hence, the obsession with Bourdain’s No Reservation. I’ll be visiting Singapore and Manila in April and I’ll try to retrace Tony’s itinerary, sans the camera crew.

    Anyway, more power to you. Keep up the good work. Again, thank you!!

    Feb 25, 2009 | 3:52 am

  13. Lou says:

    I remember while vacationing in Occidental Mindoro as a kid, they use fresh ripe cashew fruit because it was plentiful there.

    Feb 25, 2009 | 4:11 am

  14. Maria Clara says:

    Like much fish sinigang with miso or no miso and belly fish part is also a good cut. You named all the souring agents that I know of. The other souring agent that I use in fish and shrimp sinigang that not mentioned above is stripped rhubarb stall.

    Feb 25, 2009 | 4:22 am

  15. Divine G says:

    Betty Q. we also have an abundance of salmon head here in my part of the states. I usually cook sinigang using this but most of the time the only vegetable I have is celery so this is what I use . What I do is just boil the water then I add the ginger the tomato and the onions then the fish then the pangasim either kalamansi or tamarind salt to taste then the sliced celery. I don’t saute anything since the salmon head is already mataba. I just cooked sinigang a while ago with celery minus tomato because I wasn’t able to buy some and this time I used catfish nugget (tiyan ng hito) not the salmon head. Still very good.

    Feb 25, 2009 | 4:22 am

  16. ariel says:

    The japanese miso is a lot better for sinigang, however for pesa with onions/tomatoes as a side dish, the filipino miso is better.

    The classic fish for this dish is kanduli. When we lived in the Philippines I used to volunteer to drive my mom to farmer’s market so we can get the best kanduli. We used to get there before 6 am.

    One bad thing though with this dish you end up eating mounds of rice. Bad for the diet. Pero ang sarap.

    Feb 25, 2009 | 5:29 am

  17. melody says:

    my favourite sinigang of them all! my mom makes a very good sinigang sa miso and i always have a hard time replicating it. so far, no success.

    as far as i know, mustard greens can be bitter at times. hit and miss ako dyan pag gumagamit ako ng mustasa

    Feb 25, 2009 | 8:06 am

  18. jun says:

    Fish head and belly on Kamias with miso will definitely makes me eat more than usual. Give it to me anytime of the day I will take it. Use Japanese miso for more flavor.

    Feb 25, 2009 | 8:50 am

  19. Topster says:

    Hi MM, you mentioned different souring agents for sinigang but I missed to see tomatoes in your list. In our part of Pampanga (Magalang), we cook sinigang with tomatoes called sabo kamatis in Capampangan or literally sabaw kamatis in Tagalog, it is usually great with pork liempo and ribs and even with dalag (mudfish) and for veggies you use the siling mahaba, cabbage and pechay. Actually its not that sour but if you use really high quality and ripe tomatoes its almost sweet to the taste!

    This is a very unique dish that its almost a cross between pochero and nilaga, I’ve never encountered this version of sinigang outside Pampanga or non-Pampango households. This is also great with beef, especially kneecaps or short ribs it is really magnificent for slow cooking, simmering it for a couple of hours brings out the flavors of the tomato and your meat.

    Feb 25, 2009 | 9:24 am

  20. sunset says:

    maybe mustasa is over cooked kaya bitter, i think it is better to add mustasa when you think you’ve got less minutes left na lang to cook the entire dish and it would also help if you add musta while on low heat.

    Feb 25, 2009 | 9:44 am

  21. Jel says:

    my nanay use tomato for sinigang, she’s not from pampanga. In our town back then, neighbors are very creative in their sinigang, some of them even use kalamansi.

    Feb 25, 2009 | 9:54 am

  22. Mila says:

    Hi MM, please add the hyperlink on the line “click here” for the list of sinigangs made so far. Thanks!

    Feb 25, 2009 | 9:59 am

  23. Marketman says:

    Hi Mila, just added the link. :)

    Feb 25, 2009 | 10:05 am

  24. roelm says:

    Hi Marketman,

    You mentioned using vinegar as a souring agent. I believe that by definition, vinegar is not used as a souring agent for sinigang; otherwise, magiging paksiw ito. For sinigang, a souring fruit or vegetable should be used. Or is there a different practice in some parts of the country?

    Feb 25, 2009 | 10:07 am

  25. Marketman says:

    roelm, yes, I would generally agree with you, but some folks do use vinegar in a very soupy soup (as opposed to a less soupy paksiw) when other souring agents are missing… Jel, yes, I should add tomatoes to the list, green and ripe tomatoes, and cashew fruit as well… thanks. And mustasa can be bitter, though there are several types of greens sometimes called mustard greens…

    Feb 25, 2009 | 10:22 am

  26. ted says:

    Has anyone tried a very sour granny smith apple as souring agent for sinigang?

    Feb 25, 2009 | 10:36 am

  27. ted says:

    i hit the submit too fast. My sis-in-law had this granny smith apple growing in her backyard and it was so sour she uses it as souring agent for her sinigang….hehehe

    Feb 25, 2009 | 10:38 am

  28. JunkFood says:

    I wonder if our “Inselar” in Pangasinan qualifies as sinigang. It is cooked with tomatoes, ginger, onion, siling haba and your choice of seafood and veggies. My all-time favorite would be inselar na hipon with ampalaya tops. The broth’s subtle flavor goes pretty well with shrimps.

    Feb 25, 2009 | 11:03 am

  29. keithchiko says:

    i use kamatis as a base for sinigang na buto-buto or spare ribs..this is the kind of sinigang that i grew up with in pampanga, love it especially with patani…


    Feb 25, 2009 | 2:02 pm

  30. Lissa says:

    I don’t know if it has anything to do with it, really, but I noticed that the bigger mustasa leaves tend to be more bitter than the small-ish ones, so I pick up the smaller leaves when I’m at the supermarket.

    Also, when I make salmon head sinigang, I saute garlic, onion, ginger, and add in the salmon heads so they can sweat a bit with the ginger, which supposedly makes it less “malangsa.” With heat on low, I turn it gently after a minute — don’t want to break up the head — then take it out after another minute. Then I add all the rest of the ingredients and make the salmon head and vegetables the last addition. Quick and tasty meal, my husband loves it.

    Feb 26, 2009 | 11:42 am

  31. Lava Bien says:


    Do visit Little India in Singapore for some food adventure.

    It is sad that even the Filipinos who live and work there don’t like to venture to that area. They’re missing a lot, I think.

    Feb 26, 2009 | 6:48 pm

  32. ben says:

    What do people think about trying grapefruit juice?

    Mar 2, 2009 | 2:15 am

  33. fudcrmnl says:

    Thanks for the tip Lava Bien.
    I’ve actually been there during my first visit two years ago.
    This will be my third time, I have a brother and quite a few friends who live there.

    You’re absolutely right, my brother and friends were all shocked when I told them I wanted to visit Little India. Needless to say, I dragged them all and forced them to eat Biryani with their hands, local style.

    Mar 2, 2009 | 2:27 am

  34. jun says:

    just have a trip to manila. Manage to find a native chicken (P340) live and slaughter in front of me and use a tamarind flower bud or usbong ng sampalok then I ask my sis to cook it in my service apartment which I purposely chose bec I want to cook hehehe. Wow it is really really nice !!!! I don’t recall seeing it in any restaurant menu nowadays including dinuguan using usbong ng sampalok instead of vinegar.

    Mar 2, 2009 | 4:33 pm

  35. jun says:

    Hi Lava Bien/Fudcrml,

    I’m station in singapore for 18 yrs now and unlike others I’m consider a local na so I’ve been to all the markets here and you’ll be surprise that you actually find everything here to cook a mean filipino food which include bangus, isdang dapa, lapu lapu, dulong, galunggong, sting ray, kamias, bayabas, dayap, pirurutong, bulalo, etc…. Tekka Market is good as well as Tiong Bahru. They also have this wholesale vegetable market as well Woodlands and jurong fish port where you can buy fresh seafoods.

    For imported hard to find ingredients you can go to Tanglin supermarket or Jones the grocer @ Dempsey hill who have an incredible selection of cheese. They have also jamon iberico now here

    Mar 2, 2009 | 4:47 pm

  36. cynthia says:

    In the province (Negros), we normally use batwan(batuan) as souring ingredient for pinamalhan and sinigang but here in Manila, I haven’t batwan yet so I use fresh tamarind instead.

    I recall my sister got hospitalized once when she ate too many batwan. She loves to eat sour fruits she could lay her hands on and so, upon seeing a plastic full of batwan in our kitchen, she grabbed it all, along with salt and sinamak, her favorite sawsawan and retired to her room to feast on it. In the middle of the night, she woke up with a severe stomach ache and so she was rushed to a nearby hospital.

    On the side note, she was the best cook amongst us three siblings. She inherited my father’s cooking skills that everytime she visits me here in Manila, I would send her to talipapa for some tilapya to be cooked into paksiw which is her signature dish.

    Mar 5, 2009 | 2:58 pm

  37. Ed says:

    The secret is no artificial seasonings.

    Aug 13, 2009 | 11:52 am

  38. jhaz says:

    Yum! I saw the second photo in another blog.

    Oct 21, 2010 | 5:15 pm


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