Sunday, March 10, 2013

Corned Beef Sinigang! Your Feast for St. Patrick's Day

 St. Patrick's day is just around the corner. Yet another reason to drink beer, wear green and eat corned beef. Although when I did my research, people from Ireland don't really eat corned beef and cabbage. Wiki notes that it just became popular in the US after Irish immigrants ate corned beef instead of pork. Probably it's cheaper back then but because of that, corned beef is always associated with St. Patrick's day

Corned beef is a salt cured beef product which is marinated in different spices. It is one of my favorite dishes when I was growing up. My understanding of corned beef was always the canned meat that you fry with onions, tomatoes and potatoes served with garlic rice and topped with egg. I eat that for breakfast at least once a week back home. When I came here in the US, that's really when I tried the real thing which is totally different. No comment on which one I prefer.

The first time I've eaten Corned Beef Sinigang was back in the Philippines in this restaurant called Sentro 1771 (Check their menu and see what other amazing food they are coming up with). You can say it inspired me to make this dish. I didn't really know what to expect but when I tasted it, it works. Sinigang is a tamarind based soup and usually uses pork or shrimp. The sour component works well with the salty taste of the corned beef. The chili added that extra kick that will make you want to stuff more rice in your mouth.

Here's what you need:

  • 2-3 lbs. of Corned beef. (Got mine from Trader Joes)
  • 1 Cabbage (cut in quarters then halved)
  • 1 lb. of Green beans/Haricots verts
  • 3 Roma Tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1 medium Onion (quartered)
  • 3 Chili Peppers such as Jalapeno or Serrano
  • 1 package of Sinigang mix (I used Sinigang with Taro/Gabi but you can use any) Found at your Asian Supermarket
  • 1 tbsp. of Fish sauce

 1. First, cut the beef into 2 inch cubes.

2. In a large pot, boil the meat in 4 cups of water or until all meat is submerged. Add onions and tomatoes. You don't really have to be particular when chopping the onions and tomatoes since it will be really soft and we will strain the soup later anyways. We just want the flavor of it for the broth.

3. Simmer for about 2 hours. Once the meat is tender, add the Sinigang soup mix and simmer for another 15 minutes.

4. Transfer the meat into the serving dish (We are not done yet we just want to separate the meat and the veggies so that it's easy to mix in the pot). Put the cabbage first and cook for 5 minutes. Take it out and arrange together with the meat. Then cook your green beans for 2 minutes. Take it out and transfer to your serving dish. Add a little bit of water to the pot if needed. Add fish sauce to your liking. Strain the sauce and pour over your serving dish. Serve with rice.

Tips: To properly enjoy this, it's best served with steamed rice and a fish sauce. Spoon over some of the soup over the rice and drizzle some fish sauce over the meat and the rice.

If you are planning to store some of it, it's better to separate the soup from the meat and veggies so that the veggies won't be over cooked when reheating. Microwave the meat and soup then just add the veggies.