Tilapia and Cuttlefish Sinigang is my entry for this month's Kulinarya Cooking Club theme. Sinigang is a sour broth dish much like the Thai Tom Yum soup. The sourness of this dish is produced using various ingredients such as Sampaloc (Tamarind), Santol, Kamias or Vinegar. This is my Sinigang as comfort food dish and recipe.
Typically I would make this with cut up boneless country style ribs (pork). However, I did not want to go with my ho-hum version so I thought of making something outside the box for me. While shopping at the Asian market, our local fish monger was just bringing in some live Tilapia. "I want the biggest one you have." was all I can blurt out. My husband then pointed out some cuttlefish and he thought it would be cool for the dish. Little did I know, he's never had cuttlefish before so not only is this type of Sinigang a first for him but cuttlefish as well.
Cuttlefish usually comes from shallow coastal waters of India, China, Thailand, Spain and Portugal. If you are wondering what cuttlefish is like as a source of food, it's similar to squid in appearance, texture and taste. A cuttlefish's body is a lot broader so it's like a squid on steroids. Because the meat is more compact than a squid's, it has a lot firmer texture to it when cooked. It can be prepared boiled, steamed and stir-fried and can be used in Sushi and Sashimi.
One thing to remember when making this Sinigang is to select a firm fish. You don't necessarily need to use whole fish but a fillet or steak of fish that steams well is the best choice. Fish such as Red Snapper, Salmon, Mullet, Grouper, Pompano or Chilean Sea Bass (can be quite expensive) will do the job. You can also use various shellfish such as shrimp, scallops, clams and mussels. Just remember, fillets take less time to cook than steaks. Also, I typically make my broth with concentrated tamarind juice or powder but I did not realize I had run out of my supply by the time I started preparing to cook. Thankfully I had a packet of Knorr Tamarind Soup Base seasoning on hand. This recipe is using the seasoning packet.
Note: This is a one pot dish so you will need a large enough pot to hold everything. Prep time for making this dish was much longer than the actual cooking time.
Prep & Cook Time: less than 1 hour
You will need: large stock pot
1 cup milk
1 large cuttlefish, cleaned
1 whole Tilapia cut in half
8 cups water
1 packet Tamarind Soup mix
1 medium onion, chopped
10 small radishes sliced in half
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 cups green beans, cut 2 inches long
8-10 bunches of baby bok choy (remove any ugly stalks)
Cut-off cuttlefish tentacles and slice in 3 pieces. Slice cuttlefish tube lengthtwise into 3 equal portions then slice each portion horizontally, about 1/4 inch think. Transfer to a bowl then pour milk and soak for 20 minutes. Clean fish thoroughly making sure scales are completely removed. Season each side with salt. After 20 minutes of soaking, drain milk out of cuttlefish and rinse with cool water.
Combine water, tamarind soup mix, onion, radish and fish sauce in a large stock pot and bring to a boil stirring occasionally to dissolve soup mix powder. Lower heat to medium low and add beans. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add fish and cuttlefish, cover and return to simmer for 12 minutes. Remove fish and transfer to serving bowl and set aside.
Add bok choy to the soup, cover and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt for taste. Transfer soup mixture to serving bowl containing fish. Serve hot with steamed rice.
Enjoy this Saraplicious! Dish
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