Make Tikim's Short Rib Sinigang
Editor's Note: April is Filipino Food Month, according to a presidential proclamation signed into law in the Philippines in 2018. Accordingly, Tikim, a Filipino supper club from popular local food Instagrammer Nori De Vega and Filipino food enthusiasts Tricia San Mateo and Jane Barmore, has been publishing lots of Filipino recipes on its website this month. We were particularly drawn in by De Vega’s recipe for sinigang, a stew typically made tangy with tamarind—it’s ideal for this rainy spring, as well as comfort food at any time of the year.
Short Rib Sinigang
I’m from Manila, and growing up, I only really ever knew sinigang, soured with tamarind (sampalok) or sour guava (bayabas), and with either pork (baboy), shrimp (hipon), or fish (isda). Beef was usually used for nilagang baka (much like a French pot-au-Feu) or bulalo (similar to nilaga but with more usage of bone marrow and shanks, where the soup is rich with collagen and fat).
My world changed when a fellow Filipino in town that we met through food (Kuya @brrraaady) made a batch of smoked short rib sinigang. He shared it with a handful of us since we had a canceled @tikimpdx holiday event at @magnapdx due to snow and Covid. He smoked short ribs and veggies before cooking them all together in a rich tamarind broth, and it blew our minds. The way the short rib bones enrich the broth, giving it a palate-coating texture that feels luxurious, takes sinigang to a whole new level.
Needless to say, short ribs are now in my regular rotation for the choice of protein when I make sinigang. I sauté a little tomato paste in the same pot as I've used to sear the beef as a smoky flavor hack before putting the meat back in the pot to simmer until tender. The depth of flavor in this sinigang is addictive. This recipe is beginner-friendly as it uses sinigang mix as many households use to get the flavor right in a foolproof way. (Find sinigang mix at Uwajimaya, H-Mart, FuBonn and other Asian specialty stores.)
2.5 - 3 lbs bone-in beef short ribs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1-2 tbsp tomato paste
1 packet tamarind sinigang mix
Tamarind puree to taste
2 tablespoons fish sauce, plus more to taste
1 small onion, sliced
4-5 bunches baby bok choy, rinsed well and ends removed
2 tomatoes, sliced in wedges
1 handful baby spinach, rinsed well
Steamed rice, for accompanying
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Liberally salt both sides of the short ribs. In an oven-safe stock pot or dutch oven, heat up the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Sear all sides of the short ribs until browned, working in batches. Set short ribs aside.
- In the same stock pot or dutch oven, lower the temperature to medium, then add the onions and tomato paste and stir. Add fish sauce and a cup of water to deglaze, gently loosening the delicious, brown bits leftover from the short ribs that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add 3/4 packet of sinigang mix into the liquid. Stir well, then add the short ribs back into the pot. Add just enough water to cover the meat, stir gently, cover with lid and place into the pre-heated oven and cook for 2 hours.
- Take the sinigang out of the oven, then stir and check the meat for tenderness and the flavor of the broth. Add salt, fish sauce, and tamarind purée to your preference, stirring gently to incorporate into the broth. Lower the temperature to 325º and put the sinigang back into the oven to cook for an additional 20 minutes.
- Remove the sinigang from the oven and finish cooking on the stove top over medium-low heat. Add the tomato wedges and let them cook down for an additional 5-10 minutes. Add bok choy and spinach last, and cook until it just wilts but is still bright. Serve with steamed rice and enjoy!