The thing about cooking for a crowd while on an outing is that brothy dishes aren’t really the most practical or most totable edibles around. However, if you find yourselves in a place with a fully-functional and well-equipped kitchen and you’ve brought the necessary supplies, I don’t see why soup or stew shouldn’t be part of your menu.
…when your soup is chock-full of fresh prawns like the one above!
Sinigang – that tart, savory broth so popular throughout the Philippines in its myriad variations – is a perfect accompaniment to local-style barbecued meats. There is something about the green tamarind-soured broth that makes the meats more flavorful, helping them take down loads of rice in the process. (And I admit that a two-skewer pork barbecue and rice meal with a bowl of sinigang broth on the side was my go-to meal in college! :p)
Sinigang na Sugpo, the kind made with prawns, is a particular favorite for seaside meals. I don’t know what it is about staying close to the seashore whilst drinking in the salt-tinged air that makes eating this dish so wonderful, but it just does.
The thing here, you see, is to use rice wash – the water used for rinsing raw rice before cooking – in the broth. Whether you’re using pureed green tamarind (or even pureed guava) or an instant sinigang mix, the rice wash makes the soup look milkier, taste richer, and just makes the tartness pop right at you.
Plus, it really pays to use good, fresh prawns and to cook them just until they’re nice and orange-scarlet in color and they’re just al dente. Kangkong [swamp cabbage], white radishes, and eggplants are all you need to round it out.
Oh, and don’t forget to suck the gorgeously calorific fat out of the prawn heads! Pure bliss! 😀