29 Jul2013


This is my tribute to Jose Rizal’s “Noli Mi Tangere”… I read a new translation/publication of the classic story a few months ago and I was pleasantly surprised how much more I enjoyed it as an adult reader, not as a forced high school assignment. There were several snippets of every day life (then and probably still now) that really struck a chord, and my favorite was the description of being on a boat on a lake and how one should really have the pot of sinigang broth ready and waiting for the freshly caught fish, not the other way around. It was brilliant. And so I tried to come close to that description here. First, talakitoks just caught and barely breathing. Next, a kilo of ripe and pungent native guavas. Some unripe tamarind. Rush home at 80km per hour (fortunately, not on horseback).


I started off by making a simple guava broth. Just wash and slice open several guavas and boil in some water. I tasted it after 15 minutes or so and it was redolent with guava flavor and fragrance, but a bit on the sweet side. I have made several sinigangs with just a guava broth… but this time, I was curious and added a bit of sour tamarind as well. The result? A VERY VERY nice broth with the guava flavor and sweetness but a bit of a sour note from the tamarind. Why had I not thought of this before? I strained this into a large pot, then added some sliced white onions, tomatoes and a few more sliced guavas and let this simmer. Season with some patis and or salt to taste.


We cleaned two medium-large talakitok (trevally or jacks) and sliced them into four pieces each. After the soup has simmered for several minutes, taste and check for seasoning.


About 8 minutes before sitting down to eat, add the radish slices, then a minute or so later the eggplant, then the long beans, then the fish and about a minute before turning off the heat, the kangkong (water spinach) stems and leaves. Serve piping hot. Now if only I could have Jose Rizal to dinner… I would like to get his opinion on where the Philippines is at today. :)


Note: First and last photo taken by the Teen. :)



  1. carmen Garcia says:

    salivating ….. grrrr…

    Jul 29, 2013 | 12:50 pm


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  3. James1 says:

    Oh, wow! Extra plate of white rice please!

    Jul 29, 2013 | 1:08 pm

  4. GerryT says:


    Jul 29, 2013 | 2:52 pm

  5. Garlicky says:

    It looks so good, MM! Just had sinigang na bangus sa bayabas for lunch today. There were lots of ripened guavas in the market lately. Will try mixing some tamarind next time. Thank you! :-)

    Jul 29, 2013 | 3:45 pm

  6. Maricel says:

    We omit the onions when we do sinigang sa bayabas. The B.O. smell is greatly reduced :)

    Jul 29, 2013 | 7:21 pm

  7. Anonymous Paul says:

    I remember salivating from the description of tinola in the same novel. And found it quite interesting that some dishes that we eat on a normal day today was considered luxurious then. Just had some seafood bulanglang in pampanga yesterday, what a coincidence reading about this today.

    Jul 29, 2013 | 7:22 pm

  8. Footloose says:

    Last pic can illustrate sinigang in Filipino Wiki.

    He’ll probably tell you that apart from the overcrowding, conditions have remained pretty much the same. That’s what Renato Constantino’s admonition to make Rizal obsolete was all about.

    But back to cooking, I wonder if Rizal ever did some cooking. He certainly knew that certain fish are best served done a certain way. Ayungin was good as sinigang, biâ as escabeche, dalag and buan-buan as pesâ. Bának great grilled filled with tomatoes and wrapped in banana leaf.

    Jul 29, 2013 | 9:05 pm

  9. millet says:

    perfect comfort food on a rainy night like this!

    Jul 29, 2013 | 9:42 pm

  10. millet says:

    perfect comfort food on a rainy night like this! and yes, i too, enjoyed noli and fili when i read them a few years ago.

    Jul 29, 2013 | 9:42 pm

  11. Lissa says:

    The fish’s eyes are haunting me. Hehe.

    Jul 29, 2013 | 9:44 pm

  12. Corrine says:

    Comfort food. My mother used ayungin. Perfect with patis and calamansi.

    Jul 29, 2013 | 10:11 pm

  13. Julie says:

    Favorite scene ko iyon sa Noli. Nasa bangka sila at nagluto ng sinigang. Pagkatapos yata yon mamboso ni Padre Salvi at pagnasaan ang mga biniti ni Maria Clara. Doon din yata ipinakilala si Elias, na siyang nagsasagwan at tumalon sa bangka para i-save sila or something.

    Pwede po kaya ang bayabas para sa sinigang na ulo ng salmon? Hmm, minsan, susubukan ko :)

    Jul 29, 2013 | 10:34 pm

  14. Julie says:

    correction po: “binti ni Maria Clara”

    Jul 29, 2013 | 10:38 pm

  15. EJ says:

    I wonder what dishes Rizal cooked when he lived in Europe. How did he make his sinigang and tinola and other Filipino dishes? Are there any records? If not about Rizal, maybe about the other Filipino revolutionaries in Europe?

    Jul 29, 2013 | 10:47 pm

  16. Betchay says:

    How many tomatoes did you use? Looks like a lot! :) I love all kinds of sinigang….the more sour, the better tasting for me.

    Jul 29, 2013 | 11:51 pm

  17. Lava Bien says:

    Nice. Bought some guava yesterday for USD$3+ a pound (netctarines or peaches for USD$2+/- a pound). Ok ah

    Jul 29, 2013 | 11:53 pm

  18. Betchay says:

    @ EJ: you might like to read the books- 1. The Governor General’s Kitchen and 2. The Foods of Jose Rizal both by Felice Sta. Maria

    Jul 30, 2013 | 12:03 am

  19. Sister says:

    Noli Me Tangere, operetta style, is being performed in NYC starting Oct. 5th starring our very own Antoni Mendezona from Cebu. Might have to serve sinigang after opening night…

    Jul 30, 2013 | 1:57 am

  20. Malou says:

    “Rush home at 80km per hour (fortunately, not on horseback).”

    Hahahaha! Natawa ako dito. :)

    Jul 30, 2013 | 2:06 am

  21. netoy says:

    MM – Did you really used the guava with its seeds et al? I remember my mom cooking this dish but de-seeding the guava first as the seeds can wreak havoc to the teeth if bitten.

    Jul 30, 2013 | 2:16 am

  22. EJ says:

    Thanks, Betchay, i’ll re-read #1 and try to buy or borrow #2 :-)

    Jul 30, 2013 | 4:38 am

  23. Marketman says:

    netoy, yes I cooked the broth seeds and all, then strained. For the second addition of guava (more for the photo), I also left seeds in, mostly for the visual impact, though I have never had problems with the seeds and teeth. If you prefer, you could totally strain out the seeds… Sister, yes, appropriate post-opening dinner.

    Jul 30, 2013 | 8:03 am

  24. JB says:

    This looks so comforting. I love how it was inspired by literature too. I’m embarrassed to admit that I never read that book. I have to read it soon. El Filibusterismo too.

    Jul 30, 2013 | 10:20 am

  25. J-Jay says:

    If you’ve made it too sweet, have it with a bit of calamansi and fish sauce on the side (as Corinne suggested). I usually smash the siling haba into the calamansi for some extra spice and fragrance.

    Jul 30, 2013 | 10:48 am

  26. odessa says:

    simple but perfect food esp for the cold months. I hope MM you can also feature here “Labog” leaves as a souring agent for sinigang na isda….:)tnxs!

    Jul 30, 2013 | 11:00 am

  27. pixienixie says:

    I have little love for bangus na sinigang sa bayabas because as a kid I hated having to stop eating after every few minutes just to take out the small bayabas seeds and the occasional tinik. We didn’t take out the bayabas seeds after the fruit has flavored the broth – we just mashed the bayabas using the backside of the sandok until the soup becomes a bit thick.

    I love pork na sinigang sa bayabas, though. :)

    Jul 30, 2013 | 12:44 pm

  28. pixienixie says:

    Oh and in our family we counter the sourness and address the lack of saltiness of a bayabas sinigang dish not with patis but with “baguk” – Kapampangan for bagoong alamang.

    Jul 30, 2013 | 12:46 pm

  29. Risa says:

    I miss sinigang sa bayabas. People find it weird that I prefer:

    1. sinigang sa bayabas over sinigang sa sampaloc
    2. hopia baboy over hopia monggo
    3. siopao bolabola over siopao asado
    4. siomai over hakaw

    Any other examples?

    Jul 30, 2013 | 9:52 pm

  30. PITS, MANILA says:

    we have always loved ‘talakitok’. sinigang or fried. the kapangpangan kitchen would usually use ripe guavas for sinigang. often with bangus or liempo. i also noticed that they eat ripe guavas and bagoong alamang … with rice. or ripe mangoes and bagoong … still with rice.

    Aug 1, 2013 | 9:32 am


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