Mum's Philippine Beef Sinigang

Mum's Philippine Beef Sinigang from Good + Simple by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley. This Philippine fragrant soup is a great way to use beef. Fresh but hearty, this Sinigang is the perfect, easy introduction to Asian cooking and is quick enough for a midweek meal.

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Our Filipina mum brought us up on traditional Philippine homemade food. One such dish is sinigang, a hearty and stew-like soup containing large chunks of meat or seafood and any seasonal vegetables. This slow-cooked dish is characterised by its sour and savoury taste, which comes from the inclusion of tamarind - a tart and tangy fruit synonymous with Asian cuisine - and ginger. We prefer it quite sour with a touch of sweetness from the tomatoes, and slightly spicy from the addition of two whole red finger chillies at the end - removed just when they have released their fragrance. Delicious served as a one-pot dish, it also goes well with cauliflower rice (page 240 of Good + Simple) or will courgetti (courgette noodles - page 229 of Good + Simple) dropped in for the last few minutes of cooking. Try swapping the beef for chicken, pork or fish. 

Extracted from Good + Simple by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley (Ebury Press, £25) Photography by Nick Hopper


700g rib-eye steak
1.2 litres water or Bone Broth
2 medium onions. diced
6 garlic cloves, diced
5cm piece of fresh root ginger (unpeeled if organic), thinly sliced
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons tamarind paste (or to taste)
A big pinch of black or white pepper
3-4 tablespoons fish sauce
400g green beans, tops trimmed
400g pak choi, leaves and stalks roughly chopped
2 whole fresh red chilies
400g spinach


1. Cut the meat into 3cm cubes, retaining the fat as it will flavour the stew. Place in a large saucepan and pour in the water or broth. Bring to the boil, then cover and quickly reduce the heat and cook at a medium-to-low simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes with the tamarind paste, pepper and fish sauce. Bring back up to a simmer and cook, covered. for a further 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding more tamarind paste for a sourer flavour, if desired. Remember fish sauce is salty and brands vary in strength.

3. Tip in the beans. pak choi and whole chilies, then bring back up to a simmer and cook covered for 5 more minutes.

4. Add the spinach and remove the pan from the heat, leaving the lid on the pan to allow the spinach to wilt the residual heat. Remove the chilies and serve immediately.

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