Everybody loves sinigang. All of us have had it numerous times growing up. It’s tasty, it’s familiar, it’s comforting. The one thing it isn’t, though, is new. It’s hard to get excited over something you’ve had two million times before, despite how delicious it already is. When Del Monte approached us with their Red Sinigang recipe, I was excited (and a little bit anxious) for the chance to experiment and to find a twist that can make people fall in love with sinigang in a different light.
Out of all the ideas I came up with, the one that really stuck was to turn the sinigang into a risotto with a bacon sofrito. Since Del Monte’s Red Sinigang recipe already has a creative twist of its own (the addition of Del Monte’s Original Style Tomato Sauce), my variation turned out very similar to tomato-based risottos. I added bacon to the mix, and how can it go wrong?
The combination worked like a charm! The tomato sinigang broth gave the risotto a pleasant sweet and sour flavor. The tomato sauce actually helped thicken the soup, making it more like a soup-sauce combination that was absolutely bursting with flavor. The bacon sofrito (bacon anything, really) just makes the world a better place.
To make this dish, let’s start with the Red Sinigang Soup. I used Del Monte’s original Red Sinigang recipe, but added a few more cups of water to get a lot more broth for the risotto.
Ingredients for the Red Sinigang Soup
½ kg pork ribs, belly cut into chunks
2 pc small onion, sliced
½ tbsp. patis
3 ½ cup water
3 pcs okra
1 -2 pc siling haba
100 grams radish
1 bunch kangkong leaves
1 tbsp sinigang mix powder
1 pouch 200g Del Monte Original Style Tomato Sauce
Step 1 – Making the Broth
Combine the water, onion, pork, patis, and Del Monte Original Style Tomato Sauce. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until pork is tender.
Step 2 – Add the Vegetables
Add the radish and sili. Simmer until radish is almost cooked. Add okra. Allow to simmer.
Step 3 – Kangkong & Seasoning
Add the kangkong and sinigang mix powder. If you want it extra sour, you can add a bit more sinigang powder. Allow it to simmer some more. At this stage, you can turn off the heat and proceed to prepare the risotto
Ingredients for Risotto
3 tbsp parmesan cheese
½ cup picnic bacon(or any thick slice of bacon), minced
⅓ cup minced onion
⅓ red bell pepper
½ cup olive oil
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp parmesan
1 cup Arborio or short-grain rice
Step 4 – Make the Bacon Sofrito
A sofrito is a sautéed mixture of seasonings that is used as a base in many Spanish, Italian, Caribbean and Latin American dishes. It’s usually made of onion, butter or olive oil and other aromatic ingredients depending on the flavors you want to put in the dish. In this case, we’ll make use of some olive oil, bacon, and red bell peppers.
Heat olive oil in a pan. Once oil is hot, add in olive oil, bacon, red bell peppers. Saute for at least a minute.
Step 5 – Tostatura
Tostatura is the process of toasting the rice in fat before boiling. It helps the rice cook evenly in the broth later on and keeps it firm as well. Add the rice in with the oil and cook it until the grains get a glass-like sheen.
Step 6 – Stock/Broth
Slowly add the Red Sinigang soup one ladle at a time. Wait until the soup is almost completely absorbed by the rice before adding more soup. If you run out of the broth before the rice is fully cooked, you can just add water until your rice achieves the perfect texture.
Step 7 – Rest
Take the risotto off the heat while the rice grains are still a bit al dente, and allow it to rest for a few minutes. This prepares the risotto for the mantecura, which is the final and most important step.
Step 8 – Mantecura
Mantecura gives the risotto its creamy consistency. In this step, we mix in the cold butter and parmesan until the risotto reaches the right texture.
There you have it, Pepper’s Red Sinigang Risotto. Just like the traditional sinigang, this version still retains the sourness we love, but is consumed in a different way. The bacon is a welcome addition, providing more depth and flavor to the dish. The Del Monte Original Style Tomato Sauce was another pleasant surprise. It completed the dish, balancing all the other flavors while adding its own tomato twist.
Are you getting hungry yet? Try the dish for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.