Friday, October 18, 2013

making sinigang from scratch - with santol ^_^

When cooking, I try as much as possible not to use those "artificial flavor enhancers" that happen to be outrageously high in sodium.  I only resort to them when I'm in a hurry, or when there's a particular flavor that I have a hard time capturing - like the mouth-watering asim of sinigang.

One of my goals this year is to experience cooking different kinds of sinigang from scratch, using the various natural sour ingredients, or "pampa-asim". That means no short-cuts, no flavor packets, no MSG. The easiest natural "pampa-asim" to use is fresh calamansi juice, and I've even tried using lemon juice when I visited my mom in the 'States.  I have yet to experience making traditional sampaloc broth - I have it scheduled for the week after next.

My latest triumph has been sinigang sa santol from scratch.  I hardly see santol fruits these days, and I was quite happy that someone gave me a bunch.  After snacking on a fruit or two, I decided what to do with the remainder:  Use the santol for sinigang.

Santol broth is quite easy to make:

1.  Peel the fruit, discard the peel. Cut the fruit into wedges, careful not to break the seeds (any broken seeds must be removed).  Use 1 fruit for every 2 cups of water.

2.  Place in a pot and cover with water.  Boil for 30 to 45 minutes.

3.  Remove the santol wedges using a slotted spoon. Discard the seeds and mash the flesh.  Put the mashed santol back into the broth; cover and simmer for 3-3 minutes.

Ta-dah! Santo lbroth from scratch!  No need for those high-sodium flavor powders.  It's all natural and  sooooooo divinely flavorful.

To make the rest of the sinigang:

1.  Boil cubes of pork in the broth until sufficiently cooked.  Don't forget to add a bit of salt.

2.  In a separate pot, boil slices of gabi (taro root) until soft.  Remove from water and add to the broth when cooked.

3.  Add 2-3 banana-peppers.

4.  Meanwhile, boil more water in another pot.  When boiling, dunk kangkong and slices of eggplant and okra.  Add the veggies to your stew just before you remove it from the heat.

5.  Season, and serve hot.