Friday, August 15, 2008

Pork in Watermelon and Tamarind Soup (Sinigang na Baboy sa Pakwan)

What kind of Kitchen CEO are you? Do you...

(1) Plan your meal for the week ahead, balance all the needed carbohydrates, protein, minerals and vitamins of all the dishes you plan to cook, vary the type of cooking you are going to do (i.e. one day stir-fry, baking the next, stewing the following day...); buy the ingredients needed for those dishes and cook accordingly?

or do you...

(2) Just go out to the markets and/or supermarkets and check out the produce, which looks good and fresh, buy them and only after that do you think of what dishes to cook with those ingredients you bought?

I confess, I am a number (2). Which is a big no-no for organizing people like my Hubby. He is not happy when I cook a dish with one (or two) ingredients are missing. For me, it does not matter as long as the overall taste is not affected. And sometimes, using substitutions with other ingredients I have on hand turned out to be a surprise. (The dish featured today, for example.) He is not happy when I suddenly disappear from the house, just to run to the nearest neighborhood grocery to buy a little of this or that. This one, I concede is not practical anymore now. A major disadvantage of this non-organization is of course, the time consumed thinking of what dishes I will cook... :) I do not like ingredients to go to waste, so I really have to cook them all...

I bought a huge watermelon from a big supermarket chain. It was labeled "seedless." Of course I prefer to buy seedless because it is easier to feed children the seedless fruits, and it is less messy too. I am willing to pay a little bit more just to encourage my kids to eat more fruits. Imagine my dismay when I cut open the fruit and found lots of seeds inside! Grrr...

Hubby and I consumed almost half of it. What to do with the other half? I remember there was a recipe is the Food Magazine, Philippine edition, many years ago about Sinigang sa Pakwan and I really wanted to try it. This left-over "seed-full" watermelon is my chance. Usually the fruits in this household get consumed fast, specially cooling fruits like melons and watermelon. But this time I have a lot of watermelon left to try this recipe!

This recipe adapted from Food Magazine, published August 2006, pp 36 - 37. The Recipe was shared by Krip Yuson.

Some things I tweaked from the original recipe:

(1) The original recipe called for beef short-ribs with pork belly. I only used pork spareribs.
(2) The original recipe did not add water. Its juices must have purely come from the tomatoes and the watermelon. But I used my induction cooker, so I had to add water or the bottom of my pot will be burnt.
(3) I did not add okra or radish to my soup. For one thing, I did not have these on hand, and my kids does not like to eat them. But I don't think this made any changes in the taste.
(4) I added the taro roots early in my cooking because I prefer the taro roots mushy, and I can mash them into the soup to make a thicker soup consistency.

1 and 1/2 Kilos watermelon, peeled, seeded, cut into chunks
2 C sliced tomatoes, seeded
1 K pork spareribs, cut into chunks
2 pcs large taro roots (gabi), peeled, sliced
1 large onion, quartered
2 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
4 pcs finger chillies (siling haba)
1 bundle string beans (sitaw), cut into 2" long
1 bundle Swamp cabbage or water spinack (Kangkong), trimmed, washed
Salt or fish sauce (patis) to taste
200 gms tamarind, boiled, softened in 1 C water

1. Extract the tamarind juice by passing the water with boiled tamarind through a sieve and squeeze juices more out.

2. Blanch the pork spareribs in a pot of boiling water. This step is to remove the impurities.

3. In another clean pot, arrange the watermelon at the bottom. Then add in the tomatoes, taro roots, then the blanched spareribs. Add in the tamarind juice and around 10 cups of water. Cook over high heat until boiling, then simmer until meat is cooked and the watermelon are soft and mushy. This will take around 1 hour.

See the soup boiling furiously, deliciously and colorfully?
The veggies rose up while the meat sank down...

4. Start adding the vegetables starting with the finger chillies and the string beans. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until the vegetables are crisp tender.

5. Add in the onions and stems of the water spinach. After about 1 minute, add in the leaves of the water spinach.

6. Season with salt or preferably fish sauce to taste. Serve piping hot with lots of rice.

Hubby commented that we had two days of Tamarind soup - different flavors but still sour soup. He was not complaining. In fact, he enjoyed it. It was delicious! A little sweetish sour, delicately spiced. He was just saying that we tend to eat more rice with tasty/spicy dishes. And he wanted me to start dieting... :) Oh well, I just thought that having hot soup is good with the rainy weather we are experiencing right now.

I also want to use up whatever ingredients we have in the fridge. As I have said, I am a number two. Don't we all experience that feeling sometimes? We have some odd and ends in the fridge that need to be cooked, a little of this, a little of that. What I do is, I search for recipes that will use the ingredients I have on hand! Of course I do not want perfectly good food to go to waste, plus, I do not want to contribute anymore trash to our limited landfill. (Just a little effort to save Mother Earth.)

Other Sinigang recipes I have made:

Milkfish in Tamarind Soup (Sinigang na Bangus sa Sampalok)

Milkfish in Wild Mangosteen Soup (Sinigang na Bangus sa Santol)

Prawns in Tamarind Soup (Sinigang na Hipon sa Sampalok)

Pinoy Tom Yum Prawns (Thai inspired Sinigang na Hipon)

This hot and tasty soup is my entry this week to Bookmarked Recipes, a food event where anyone from anywhere can blog about a recipe they had bookmarked from a cook book, food magazine, food blog, food website, from TV etc, make it and submit it to a weekly roundup. This delicious idea was concocted by Ruth of Ruth's Kitchen Experiments. To see last week's delicious round-ups, please click here.


noobcook said...

I am number 2, definitely...

as much as I try to plan, I get pretty distracted rather easily ... nowadays, I try to visit the supermarket on a full stomach so that I buy less rubbish, hee! Your soup is such a hearty broth :)

Fearless Kitchen said...

This looks delicious! I've never really seen watermelon in a soup before.

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

This is definitely something to try. Watermelon in sinigang? How interesting!

Wandering Chopsticks said...

I'm a #2. Hubby should appreciate that you cook for him every day, instead of complaining that you don't prep everything. Hmph! I've never thought of adding watermelon into sinigang, but it's similar to VNese canh chua and I add plenty of pineapple so can't be that different.

Mochachocolata Rita said...

watermelon in a soup! i am totally intriqued! :)

Dhanggit said...

I am more number 2 but Im like your hubby too. When I cook the ingredients should be complete or else I wont even cook it LOL...i have never tried this sinigang really curious how the taste is like...

SweetDesigns said...

I am definitely a #2!! I want so badly to plan..something with eating but just never quite make it there. On the topic of awesome soup, wow, Watermelon? I never thought of it in a soup and it sounds quite tasty!

Soli Deo Gloria said...

I was quite curious on how it will turn out too, that was why I had to try it out. The taste is sour with a little hint of sweetness, and the watermelon became melt-in-the mouth...

Soli Deo Gloria said...

I'm so glad to hear there are many of us #2s... I thought I was the only one... :)

Ruth Elkin said...

This looks fab, full of great flavours!!! Thanks for submitting it to bookmarked recipes!

lalaine said...

Wow! Interesting...pakwan in sinigang? Added in my to-cook list!

lalaine said...

Wow! Interesting...pakwan in sinigang? Added in my to-cook list!

toninoname said...

I love the taste of sinigang na hipon. Most of people I know even foreigners love the sour taste of sinigang. I tried the Pinakbet I found on My friends love it! Thanks for this post!

Click here for Filipino Food recipes!

Sinigang said...


Your Sinigang looks really delicious!

I'm collecting a list of the best sinigang recipes in my blog, and I included your sinigang recipe (just a link though, hope you don't mind). You can see it at

Keep in touch!

Tanya Regala

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