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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Sinigang: A Pot of Love from My Grandmother's Kitchen #SundayFunday

This week Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm is hosting the Sunday Funday writers as we share homemade soup recipes.

Stacy of Food Lust People Love, Sue of Palatable Pastime, Rebekah of Making Miracles, and Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm coordinate this low-stress group; we only participate when we are inspired. As I mentioned, Wendy is hosting this week. Here's the #SundayFunday soup swap!

My (Paternal) Grandmother, Emiliana

When I considered what homemade soup to share today, I landed on a dish from my paternal grandmother, my grandma Meling. Her real name was Emiliana, she was mostly called Meling, but later in life she was simply known as 'Apong' because that's what my boys called her, 'The Girl Apong.'

My sweetest memory of my grandmother involved food. Here goes. I'm grateful that my boys were able to meet - and remember - my grandmother. She was a wonderful woman and an amazing cook.

A Pot of Love

From the piquant tamarind to the bitter mustard greens, Grandma's sinigang was always my favorite. Over the years, I would ask her for the recipe or, at the very least, to let me watch her cook it so I could learn. She would always decline, saying, "No, Cami, whenever you want sinigang, you just come visit." So, I did.

On one visit, I brought my boyfriend Jacob - now my husband and the father of two of her great-grandsons - and Grandma had a pot of sinigang on the stove. Grandma ladled out steaming bowls and we sat down together.

Now that I think about it, she didn't start eating right away; she just watched Jacob dig in. He was as smitten as I was, asking if I knew how to make sinigang. I explained that no, it was a secret recipe and that Grandma was never going to give me the recipe because she preferred to culinarily blackmail me: as long as I didn't know how to make it on my own, I would have to come visit to get it.

At the end of the afternoon, Grandma walked us to the front door to say goodbye. As she hugged me, she said, "Now, I will show you how to make sinigang. Come back next week."

"Why now?" I asked, equally excited and flabbergasted.

She just smiled and patted Jacob's shoulder. "Don't worry. I will teach her how to make sinigang for you, Jacob."


Sinigang is a sour Filipino soup made with shrimp and tomatoes, characterized by its tangy-sour taste that comes from the use of the tamarind fruit.

  • 6 cups water

  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped

  • 3 tomatoes, diced

  • 1 pound shrimp, cleaned but with head and tail intact

  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons pure tamarind paste

  • 1-1/2 cups green beans, cut into 1" pieces

  • 1-1/2 cups chopped greens (we like using mustard greens)


In a large pan, bring the water to a boil. Add in the tomatoes and onions and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add in the green beans and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and season with fish sauce, to taste. Cook until shrimp are opaque, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Fold in the greens until wilted. Season to taste with the tamarind.

Ladle into bowls and enjoy immediately with rice.

I have so many delicious memories of eating this at my grandparents' house. And I am so very grateful that my grandmother finally showed me how to make this.

Some Other Tasty Bowls

We love to make and eat soups. Some of our favorites include a Filipino good luck dish, Arroz Caldo; Wonton Soup, and a Hawaiian bowl of hearty deliciousness, Saimin.

That's a wrap for my soup offering. Stay tuned as the group will be back next week sharing Vegan Main Dishes. While I am not a vegan, not even vegetarian, I do love a culinary challenge. Thinking cap on...

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