Filipino Soup For The Soul

Relaxing…in the kitchen?  Yes, there are several things I do to relax and wind down if I’m up for being on my feet.  (Hence the reason I baked my way into labor with Little A!)  I find much comfort in cooking or baking, where others may find more conventional ways to relax.  To each their own, I say.

What I happened to be doing today was working on a new quest of food prepping.  The best recipe for busy times is preparation and planning.  This upcoming school year is going to be crazy busy for us, since I will also be back in school, so I thought I’d make my life (and theirs) easier by planning out our meals and freezing them when recipes allow.

The first one I made today was what I like to refer to as the Filipino version of chicken noodle soup.  There’s no chicken or pasta though.  There’s pork and spinach instead, served over white rice.  (You can make brown instead if you like.)  I remember having this soup quite often in the winter time, and also whenever we were sick.  My mom hardly ever had chicken noodle soup, because this is what did the trick for us.

What you need:

Tamarind Sinigang pronounced (sin-ee-gong) mix
Pot of water
Pork neck bones
Spinach (1-2 cups, your preference)
Bokchoy stalks halved (I use only a few stalks)
White Onion rough chopped (or red, which is what I had on hand)
1 Tomato rough sliced
Okra (a handful)
Green beans (1-2 cups, your preference)
Pepper to taste

Sinigang3

I’m laughing as I type in the ingredients, because I don’t have any real measurements.  These are mostly my own preference.  Whenever I am put into a position to ask my mom for a recipe, I get “a handful here…a pinch there…taste for sourness…”  Even cooking rice has it’s obscure measurements.  Thus, mine is different every single time. 

Sinigang1

In your pot of water, you need to nearly fill it with water and have enough room for the neck bones.  You obviously don’t want it to overflow when it’s boiling.  Place the neck bones into the water and bring to a boil, uncovered.  Allow to cook for about 30 to 45 minutes.  You will notice that a brown foam forms on top of the water.  Use a ladle or spoon to skim the top of the pot and remove it.

Once you’ve removed the foamy layer, turn down the heat to about a medium and add HALF of the sinigang soup mix.  Then add all of the vegetables, stirring well.  Let simmer covered for about 30 minutes, ensuring the onions are softened.  (That’s my guide to when it is done, haha!)

Taste the broth.  It is supposed to be sour-salty, but not to the point that you can’t stand it.  If you feel you need more of the soup mix, add more and simmer for a bit longer.  Taste.  Simmer.  Taste…  See the pattern?  🙂

My goal was to make enough of the soup to set aside half of it for freezing.  To my surprise, Big D loved it that much, he took it to work this morning.  It’s a good thing I have more ingredients for a second batch!

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