Sinigang na Salmon Belly

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As the Philippines transitions from months of intense heat to the cooler, rainy season, there is no better way to embrace the change in weather than with a comforting and hearty meal. Today, I am excited to share with you a recipe that is perfect for this season – Sinigang. But this is no ordinary sinigang, as I will be using a special ingredient – salmon belly.

Traditionally, sinigang is made with shrimp or native fish, but I have recently discovered that using salmon belly as the main protein ingredient can elevate this dish to another level of deliciousness.

Salmon is not native to the Philippines, and this makes it quite expensive. However, I have found a way to enjoy this rich and flavorful fish in a budget-friendly manner. There is a supermarket in my area that sells salmon belly scraps at a lower price, making it accessible to those who want to try cooking with this imported fish.

For those who are not familiar with this dish, sinigang is a soup-based dish that has a tangy and savory taste. The sourness comes from tamarind, which is usually used as a souring agent in Filipino dishes. Sinigang mix, which is readily available in local stores, is made of tamarind and other spices that add depth to the flavor profile of the dish.

Ingredients:

1/2 kilo salmon belly
4 pcs small tomatoes, cut into halves
2 large red onions, cut into halves
1 medium-sized radish, cut into large chunks
3 bunches of bok choy
1 eggplant, sliced into 1 to 1-1/2 inch pieces
2-3 bulbs of scallion
1 tablespoon fish sauce (patis)
Salt and pepper
1 small pack or 1 tbsp sinigang/tamarind mix

To start off my salmon belly sinigang recipe, I first slightly cook the fish by frying it. This step not only removes the fishy odor but also adds a nice texture to the salmon belly. Then, I simmer tomatoes, radish, and red onions in a pot of water for about 5 minutes to create the base of the soup. Adding these vegetables also adds more nutrients and flavors to the dish.

Next comes the star ingredient – the salmon belly and sliced eggplant. I let them cook for another 5 minutes until they are tender and fully cooked. At this point, I add a tablespoon of fish sauce (patis) for some savory notes and the sinigang mix for the sourness. The amount of sinigang mix can be adjusted according to your preference, but I personally like mine on the more sour side.

After another 3 minutes of simmering, I add bokchoy and scallions to the pot. These vegetables add a fresh and crunchy element to the dish. It is important to not cover the pot at this point to keep the vibrant green color of the bokchoy leaves. Covering it will cause the leaves to turn brown.

And just like that, my salmon belly sinigang is done! I like to serve it with a steaming bowl of rice, but it can also be enjoyed on its own as a soup. The salmon belly adds a rich and buttery flavor to the dish, making it a perfect complement to the tangy and savory broth. The vegetables also add a nice balance of textures and flavors, making each spoonful a burst of deliciousness in your mouth.

What I love about this dish is that it combines two different cultures – the imported salmon from Western countries and the traditional Filipino sinigang mix. It is a fusion of flavors that truly represents the diverse and vibrant food culture in the Philippines. And even though salmon is not native to our country, this dish proves that it can still be incorporated into our cuisine in a delicious and budget-friendly way.

In addition to its amazing taste, salmon belly sinigang also has numerous health benefits. Salmon is known for its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain function and heart health. The vegetables in the dish also provide a good source of vitamins and minerals, making it a well-rounded and nutritious meal.

Sinigang na salmon belly is a must-try dish for all food lovers out there. It is a unique twist on a classic Filipino dish that will surely satisfy your taste buds. So next time you see those affordable salmon belly scraps at the supermarket, don’t hesitate to try this recipe and experience the perfect balance of flavors in every spoonful. Happy cooking!


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