Being quarantined does bring out the creativity in oneself. My brother Tony, who works in Pampanga, offered to send us some export quality large prawns; humongous I might say. During one of our Sunday Dinners, cousin Chit and her sister Bujing, gave me home grown camias or balimbi; which I packed into 200 grams bags and froze. Our neighbor’s gardener left us with a big pot of home grown lemongrass (tanglad) before the quarantine. Another neighbor’s gardener gifted me with his garden produce – mustard leaves. I saw the mustard leaves grown from seedlings to something that can be eaten; it was part of the scenery of my early evening walks. Voila! I then thought of making Sinigang na Sugpo using the camias as the souring agent, the tanglad as the fragrance, the mustard leaves for the veggie part, and the prawns as the main character. Here is the magic!
Sinigang na Sugpo sa Camias at Tanglad (Sour Prawn Soup with Balimbi and Lemongrass)
Sinigang is traditional Filipino soup that can be made with any protein, different souring agents, and an assortment of vegetables. This one uses prawns but you can use shrimps. The usual souring agent is tamarind or sampalok but here I use the camias/kamias.
- 500 grams prawns (sugpo) - cut out the antenna and legs and slip the top to remove the intestinal track
- ¼ cup of mirin
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- ½ cup sliced onions
- 100 grams camias or balimbi (slice into ¼ -inch circles)
- 2 lady finger chili (sili haba) - bruise the chili with small knife cuts along the side to let out the spiciness
- 8 cups of hot water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cubes of shrimp bouillon
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (patis)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 2 stalks of lemon grass (tanglad) - pound white part and roll up like a knot
- 2 bunches of mustard leaves - rinsed well and cut in half
- 4 pieces of small taro (gabi) - peeled
In a dish to fit the prawns, place the prawns and pour in the mirin and let marinate for at least 20 minutes. Then drain. Set aside till ready to put into the soup
In a 12 cup capacity casserole, place over medium-low heat.
Pour in the cooking oil and begin to saute the onions for 2 minutes.
Then add the sliced camias and the chili and continue to saute for another 2 minutes.
Then pour in the hot water, and lemongrass, and bring to a simmer.
Put in the taro and season the broth with the shrimp bouillon, fish sauce, pepper, and salt.
Continue to simmer until the taro has softened.
Adjust the soup to your liking; adding fish sauce or salt or pepper.
While the soup is gently simmering, add the prawns and after 3 minutes, the mustard leaves and simmer for a total of 5 minutes.
Serve while hot.