Traditionally, the clear, sour broth that is the very hallmark of classic sinigang is made with green tamarinds which have been boiled, pureed, and strained. A sinigang sa sampalok (tamarind-based sinigang) is usually made with chunks of stewing pork with kangkong (leaves and stems), maybe some sliced eggplant, starchy taro root, and white daikon radish. It is, for all intents and purposes, the most common form of sinigang.
However, if you’re lucky enough to have a guava tree in your front or back yard (and, specifically, it has to bear those small, old-school, pink-centered fruits and not those huge, bland imports), your culinary horizons are broadened. Fresh guavas can be prepared the same way as green tamarinds for sinigang sa bayabas.
Prepared with stewing beef instead of pork, sinigang sa bayabas has a heartier flavor and is more tart rather than sour. A robust dish, the guava rinds are also cooked with the beef. It makes the meat more tender and the green rinds cook into soft, white circles with a sweetish flavor that goes well with the iron tang of the beef.
I don’t know about anyone else in these parts, but a good bowl of this tart, soupy dish is the perfect way to speed up one’s recovery from the flu. 🙂