Sinigang na Baboy at Gabi


Finding the small gabi was the spark. The inspiration was a wonderful kurobuta pork sinigang Mrs. MM had at Mamou a few weeks ago. The two hands full of small gabi turned out to be too little for the large pot of sinigang we were making, but it turned out brilliantly nonetheless. First roughly 1.5 kilos of pork belly or liempo were cut into large cubes and simmered in water with some onions and peppercorns for some 2+ hours until tender. In another pot, we made some fresh unripe tamarind broth and mashed and strained that and set it aside. Once the pork was tender, and some of the water had been boiled off, we added the tamarind puree to taste (we like it sour, so adjust accordingly). Next I added the gabi and let that cook until soft, at which point, I fished out all the gabi and mashed it roughly with a fork and returned the mash to the boiling pot…


The broth thickened up nicely, but not as thick as I wanted it to… I figure that we needed a bit more gabi or less liquid. At any rate, while the photos don’t scream thick, as soon as you stir up the soup, the more opaque thick soup rises from the bottom of the dish. I added salt to taste, good thai patis, some sliced tomatoes, radishes, eggplants, long beans, long finger chilies, mustard greens and water spinach. It was DELICIOUS. A dipping sauce of more fish sauce, dayap juice and some chilies added that sharpness and saltiness when desired. LOTS of white rice to go with the dish. Definitely not a low calorie or diet friendly choice for lunch. Worse (or BETTER?), we served this with some fried Zubuchon and homemade acharra on the side. Happiness isn’t that difficult to achieve. :)

Here are all (or most?) of the sinigang posts I have done on this blog over the years:

Sampalok / Tamarind Broth from Scratch
Sinigang na Sugpo / Prawns in Tamarind Broth
Sinigang na Bangus at Bayabas
Sinigang na Hipon at Kamias
Sinampalukang Manok / Chicken & Tamarind Soup
Sinigang na Baboy
Sinigang na Bangus at Santol
Sinigang na Manggang Hilaw at Ulo ng Salmon
Sinigang na Lechon
Sinigang na Batwan at Bangus

Another Sinigang na Bangus at Bayabas
Sinigang for Lunch
Pork Rib Sinigang
Sinigang na Dalag with Miso
A Sinigang “Still Life”
Sinigang na Tadyang ng Baka


62 Responses

  1. definitely food that nourishes both body and spirit… perfect dish for fall as there’s a crispness in the air already.

  2. Salamat ha, MM. Sobrang nangangasim ang panlasa ko. Hindi pwedeng hindi ako makakain ng pork sinigang sa araw na ito or else hindi ako makakatulog.

    Off to the supermarket. Sana may makita akong hilaw na sampalok. Tamang-tama meron kaming dried fish from iloilo. Magkaulam na yun…

    Salamat talaga MM.

  3. When my Mom asks me to buy ingredients for Pork Sinigang, her # 1 rule is for me to buy small gabi. I never really knew the difference until I started cooking and realized that the smaller ones were softer and makes my broth thicker rather than using the big ones which are tougher! I admit I use an artificial pampaasim (eeep!) though hehehehe… Maybe I’ll try doing it with fresh sampaloc one time…. :D

    Nice post MM, with the rains coming more often in the afternoons here in Manila, this is a go-to meal for every pork loving Filipino :)

  4. Btw, slightly off-topic: How do you guys cook gabi without getting your hands all itchy??? I tried boiling them first then mid-way I peel off the skin using a peeler but end up with more gabi peeled off since it’s so small.

  5. I was never a fan of sinigang and prefer the meat to be fried before eating it, like you do with leftovers. :) And still the highlight for me now for sinigang are the tomatoes and onions, plus the gabi. Yum.

    On a recent trip to Iloilo, I was able to get my hands on some batuan but failed to cook it :( They all turned black before I could experiment with it.

  6. MM, the picture looks sooo good. Yesterday I was reading the comments re: sinigang not knowing what that is. Now I know. Although, I don’t know if we have the equivalent for that in Cebu but yes, I have eaten that dish so many times I just did not know what it was called. Not tinola(?)

  7. Ok I’m sure this question was asked and answered already before, but I’ll ask it anyway. Do you ship/fly Zubochon lechon already to Manila?

  8. MM, sigh, sigh and double sigh. If I were on death row, this would exactly be part of my last meal on earth.

  9. that’s exactly how we make sinigang. sometimes i like to put mustard greens instead of water spinach so that the biterness cuts through the richness. “patis bicol” (more like a thin fish bagoong) or bagoong Balayan with dayap or calamansi and some chili make the best dipping sauce. the perfect partner would be fried smoked bangus or any fried fish ( a family favorite is “espada” (scabbard fish).

  10. My mom’s sinigang na baboy is the best, and part of the secret is using these small gabis. MM, your sinigang soup would be thicker if you don’t mash the gabi. Just boil the peeled gabi (if they are bigger, you can cut them in half) along with the pork when it is almost tender. We like lots of gabi in our sinigang since we like to have them in each spoonful with the pork, rice, other veggies and spicy patis or bagoong!

    On how to avoid the itchiness of your hands in peeling gabi, my Mom taught me to peel them while dry. Once you have peeled the gabi, put them in a small bowl/basin of water and drain before putting in the pot of softened pork ribs.

  11. I miss pork sinigang. I’m in a country where pork is prohibited so you can just imagine how am I feeling right now. Not even a very good beef sinigang can satisfy my cravings. I did not go home this year and my next planned vacation will be in nine months…Hay…

  12. As you described what you put in your sinigang and as I was looking at the picture, I was what you call “nangangasim” but what really attracted me was the pork with the bones and the “taba”. I LOVE IT. That is what I like in my meat, well not only meat but with bones and “taba” even with chicken I like the skin with it. The food for me taste better that way as it is being cooked.

  13. Hi MM. Gabi/taro and tamarind are sold here in NL so sinigang is at least one Phil comfort food I can make here. Just like you, I also boil the liempo for hours (I use the pressure cooker when I’m pressed for time or when I’m lazy. he.he.) and my Phil friends here think I’m nuts for doing that. Wait till I send them a link to this post!

  14. OMG — this was always my all-time favorite dish of Mom’s ever. Especially when the gabi makes it thicker. Still haven’t found an equivalent in the U.S. — neither turnips nor parsnips adds the sticky/thickening touch. Maybe potatoes…but it still won’t be quite the same.

  15. I LOVE gabi in sinigang. I grew up w/ my Kapampangan grandmother making it w/ the small gabi – particularly in sinigang na bayabas aka sabo bulanglang. The small gabi are pretty accessible here in NYC as well, so I may just give this a try this week!

  16. Hey Marketman! It’s so great to read about sinigang – that’s one of the reasons I kept coming back to your blog. But did I miss something? Are you still blogging? Did you decide not to take a sabbatical after all?? I’m not complaining, of course…just curious!

  17. Hi MM,
    To make the broth thick, we usually use the 2nd wash of the bigas as the soup base for sinigang. And for flavor we always combine pork ribs and liempo (drool).
    Also – we don’t really use the big gabi for sinigang, it’s just not the same. These small ones are the best. I miss sinigang so much! I can’t cook in my hotel room, and I’ll be stuck here for another month!

  18. Maybe by continuously boiling the soup with some pork bone till reduce in half will make the soup more tasty and thicker. Remove the meat and other ingredients so that it doesn’t get too soft.

  19. This is my ultimate comfort food! The food that will always make me think of home! :) Basta pork sinigang with gabi, ok na! Doesnt matter if my favorite greens are all present. Pero shempre better kung kangkong + sitao + okra are also there. :p

    I love eating sinigang with chicharong bulaklak or fried bangus belly! Try mo din, MM! :)

  20. Oh wow, this looks so good! Sinigang will always be in my Top 10 Filipino foods :D I’ve never tried making it with the small gabi though… I can’t wait to try this!

  21. Yum! C always puts lots of gabi in his sinigang (mashes it also)…we love thick sinigang :) Will have to keep an eye out for these little ones…

  22. Mr. MM, do you eat the “taba” portion of the liempo? it’s so heavenly when dip in patis with sili but i worry about my cholesterol level.

  23. @vyan dp, you can wrap your hands in plastic while you peel the gabi :)
    orr… you can peel as usual and then after, dip your hands in coconut milk or rub grated coconut on your hands until the itchiness goes away

  24. Jdawgg, that’s something new. I’ve never seen one before, I wonder how it taste too bad there’s no fresh cashew fruit on my side.

  25. I used to think it was the gabi that also thickened the sinigang broth. till the wife told me to use the rice washing. as with renee, i also prefer using pork ribs as the bones provide for more flavor and less fat.

  26. Shucks, MM, nangangasim ako. I’m going to make Sinigang this weekend. I confess that I only use the sinigang mix because I have no access to fresh tamarind.

  27. I miss eating pork sinigang and inihaw na liempo eversince I stopped eating pork 2 years ago! I may just break my “abstinence” because of your post!!! I can just imagine the taste of your sinigang… Yum-o!

  28. just the perfect blog to read before you sleep from work… *stomach growling*

    i boil my pork with tomatoes and onions and once the tomatoes are soft i mash them, makes the soup slightly reddish.. then halfway put in the small gabi..once they are softened i also mash a few pcs only coz i love mashing the gabi with my rice and the broth.. my hubby calls it my baby food but i grew up eating gabi that way with sinigang and it obviously stayed.. hehehe.. add in the soup from straining boiled fresh tamarind, season with patis then add the veggies then the finger chilis.. dipping sauce of patis with the finger chilis and lots of hot rice.. heaven… nagutom ako talaga..

  29. hi market man, what do you think of using the pressure cooker to soften meat? will it affect the flavor compared to boiling meat for 2 hours? we often use the pressure cooker at home to save on gas and to get the food done faster. thanks!

  30. Mi’Ann, I suppose it should be okay for sinigang… We used to have a pressure cooker but it broke and we have not replaced it for years. For certain dishes, I suspect it does make it more convenient. But for other dishes, I worry that the pressure will have an effect on meat tissues and possibly affect texture and maybe even taste. Having said that, for a pork sinigang, I don’t think there would be a discernible difference…

  31. My mom has always made the thick kind of sinigang with gabi in it (the soup’s opaque), and it was a surprise to me when I ate sinigang at other people’s houses and found out theirs was clear. I don’t remember her mashing the gabi, though. I thought the gabi naturally dissolved in the broth while cooking. I’ll have to ask.

  32. the title got me drooling but when i looked at the picture, i saw thick fat plus the skin on the meat ;-( in this age of obesity and stroke, i strongly abhor the visible fat. i am 100% sure, every one of us wants to live a quality life so let’s eat healthy :-) in fairness, sinigang is really a very good recipe (sans the fat and skin)!

  33. ay kasarap niyan! lalu na yung gabing tagalog o gabing kalamba tapos ay lalahukan pa ng puso ng saging na alinsanay ay kaputi ng sabaw! sarap! hehe!(“,)

  34. rodel, it IS WATER SPINACH just as much as it is SWAMP CABBAGE as well. So please, unless you are certain of your position, at least have the minimum decency to hit a few more keys and google the vegetable and its commonly used names before so firmly correcting someone else. I have a previous post on kang kong, you can read more there. Or if you are still not convinced, then perhaps the following published reference materials might help…

    In Bruce Cost’s book, entitled “Asian Ingredients” he lists other names for “WATER SPINACH (Ipomoea aquatica) as Swamp Spinach, Long Green, Ung choy, Kang Kong.”

    In Jacki Passmore’s “The Encyclopedia of Asian Food & Cooking,” Kang Kong is listed as also being referred to as: “kong syin tsai, ong choi, kangkong, pak bung, rau muong, swamp cabbage, swamp spinach, water convolvulus, water spinach.”

    Finally, in Sara Deseran’s book “Asian Vegetables” she lists “WATER SPINACH, also known as kang kong, morning glory, ong choy and swamp cabbage.”

    While both water spinach and swamp cabbage are the least accurate names since kangkong is neither a spinach nor a cabbage, they are both common names used for this vegetable. And frankly, water spinach is even more common than swamp cabbage. Is that CLEAR to you now?



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