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How to Level Up Classic Sinigang na Isda

How to Level Up Classic Sinigang na Isda
Boneless bangus belly makes eating sinigang enjoyable even for kids.

Sinigang na isda is one of the easiest Filipino dishes to make. Home cooks typically prepare this ulam with bangus, salmon belly, or maya-maya as its main protein. Go on, toss in some tomatoes, labanos, mustasa, and siling pangsigang for good measure. While these ingredients are healthy, delicious, and affordable, they can get repetitive. Keep everyone interested in the classic dish by introducing these quick (and affordable!) glow-up ideas.

6 Ways to Update a Sinigang na Isda Recipe

Take your pick from these easy upgrades for your sinigang recipe. Try adding mushrooms or fruits to the soup base. Or why not serve it on a sizzling plate? Your loved ones are in for a treat!

1. Give your sinigang na isda an umami boost.

You can add fresh or dried mushrooms to your sinigang.

Do you feel like your sinigang is lacking in the linamnam department? Level up the soup by adding a few splashes of Knorr Liquid Seasoning and your choice of mushrooms. Just these two ingredients can make a world of difference!

Umami-rich mushrooms are an excellent source of macronutrients. Plus, they take no effort to prep. Feel free to use canned champignon, fresh oyster, enoki, or rehydrated shiitake. When selecting your pang-asim, remember that mushrooms easily absorb a ton of flavor. Thus, you might want to skip overly sour fruits that might overpower the mushrooms. Go for the sweet and tangy notes of guavas instead.

2. Turn to pantry staples.

Canned sardines are an economical and versatile ingredient.

Your pantry holds many underutilized ingredients, and it’s time to give them the star treatment. Two prime examples are canned sardines in tomato sauce and mackerel in broth. These budget-friendly staples aren’t just for guisado recipes. For starters, they make ideal substitutes for fish in a sinigang recipe. 

Most people are reluctant to use these saltwater proteins becomes of their fishy aftertaste. You can resolve this by adding ginger to the broth and using citrus as your souring component. A few ideal choices include calamansi, lemon, and mandarin oranges. 

3. Reimagine the ulam.

Serve your fish on a sizzling plate and top it with sinigang gravy.

Do you crave the flavors of sinigang but don’t feel like preparing or consuming soup? Why not take a page from Locavore’s menu and serve it on a sizzling plate? While the restaurant uses beef short ribs in their version, you can recreate it with fish. Some terrific options are grilled salmon belly or crispy boneless daing na bangus

To make the sauce, heat oil in a pot, then stir in flour. Add Knorr Sinigang Mix, water, and seasonings, then let the mixture simmer until thick. Finish with a knob of butter and pour over your fish.

4. Introduce new vegetables.

Introduce fresh flavors to the soup with your favorite vegetables.

Typical vegetable ingredients for sinigang na isda include okra, radish, and local greens like kangkong. Mix it up a bit by tossing in ube, kamote, spinach, baby corn, bell peppers, snow peas, and broccoli. The unconventional additions make the dish healthier while giving it a refreshing flavor profile.

5. Make the soup creamier.

Turn to ready-to-use mixes when fresh coconut milk is unavailable.

Balance out the sharp acidity of your soup base with the help of coconut milk. Adding gata increases the linamnam of your ulam exponentially! Plus, it lends the dish delicate creaminess akin to simmering a gabi-based sinigang until viscous. Think of your product as a close relative of the well-loved Thai tom yum soup.

While fresh is best, you can also turn to convenient ready-to-use gata mixes to get the job done. Tip: when pouring the coconut milk, lower the heat and keep your soup at a steady simmer to avoid curdling.

6. Add fruits to upgrade the base.

Various tropical fruits can upgrade your sinigang broth.

Lend your sinigang na isda recipe a new flavor profile by mixing and matching your souring agents. Traditionally, cooks extract juices from sampalok, kamias, and calamansi. But it’s time to depart from these usuals! Boost your soup’s asim-kilig factor by infusing it with the following: 

  • green mangoes
  • strawberries
  • santol
  • batwan
  • oranges
  • watermelon
  • mangosteen
  • kiwis
  • pineapple

Many Pinoys already know how to cook sinigang na isda since it is a fuss-free recipe. Over time, however, cooking the same basic dish can get boring.

The best way to keep palates interested in this soup is to tweak its components. This list gives a few ideas to update your everyday sinigang na isda. Pick a favorite and surprise your loved ones with a refreshed ulam they will never forget.

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