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Make Jacqueline Chio-Lauri's seafood sinigang

This sour and savoury seafood soup – seasoned with vibrant gremolata and a welcoming punch of fish sauce – is a Filipino favourite for a very good reason 

Make Jacqueline Chio-Lauri's seafood sinigang; photography by Rowena Dumlao-Giardina

Serves 3

Preparation time 45 minutes

Cooking time 30 minutes

Sinigang is adobo's close contender for the title of National Dish of the Philippines. It has many variants, depending on the fruit used to sour the dish. Although it usually gets its flavour from commonly used Filipino fruit like sampaloc (tamarind), kamias (bilimbi), bayabas (guava), and calamansi (Philippine lime), this recipe recreates the dish using the reliable and easy-to-find lemon. Like many Filipino dishes, this soup is bold in taste: sour, salty, slightly sweet, spicy, and umami. How much seafood and fish you use is up to you, so feel free to experiment with the ratios until you find your own perfect sinigang. 

Ingredients

For the gremolata:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons

For the sinigang:

  • 950ml seafood stock or water with dissolved fish bouillon cubes
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 450g fish fillets (such as salmon, monkfish, or cod), cut into 4 pieces
  • 225g long beans or green beans, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm pieces
  • 4 fresh whole chilis of your choice
  • 1 bunch water spinach or spinach, thick stems removed
  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • 450g mixed shellfish (such as prawns, shrimp, and crab claws), shelled and cooked
  • Cooked rice or crusty bread, for serving

Method

The gremolata:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers.
  2. Add the garlic and cook until it is light golden, then immediately remove the pot from the heat.
  3. Transfer the garlic mixture to a bowl and let it cool for 1 minute.
  4. Mix with the parsley and lemon zest. Set it aside.

The sinigang:

  1. Pour the seafood stock into the same saucepan used to fry the garlic.
  2. Add the lemon juice and sugar and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions and tomatoes.
  4. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and the tomatoes are mushy.
  5. Put the fish in a strainer or colander and dunk it into the simmering broth. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until opaque throughout. Be careful not to overcook it. Immediately transfer the fish to a plate and set it aside.
  6. Put the beans in the strainer and dunk it into the simmering broth. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the beans are tender but still vibrant green. Transfer the beans to a plate and set it aside.
  7. Put the chillis and water spinach in the strainer and dunk it into the simmering broth. Cook for about a minute, or until they are tender but still vibrant in colour. Transfer the chillis and spinach to a plate and set it aside.
  8. While the broth continues to simmer, taste and add fish sauce and more lemon juice as needed. Distribute and arrange the fish, shellfish, and vegetables into each of four bowls.
  9. Remove the broth from the heat and ladle it into the bowls with the seafood and vegetables. Sprinkle each serving with the gremolata. Serve the soup piping hot, with rice or crusty bread.
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