Bangus belly sinigang
When rain is coming from all directions outside, stay indoors if you can and keep yourself from feeling dreary. You could do a movie marathon or maybe catch up on some reading. But you know what we think is the best thing that this crazy weather brings? It provides the perfect backdrop for enjoying hot soup! We’ve rounded up our five top stews that are perfect to pair with plain steamed rice on cold rainy days. Which one’s your favorite?Bangus belly sinigang (Stewed milkfish in tamarind)
The perfect sinigang stew is the one that uses sampaloc (tamarind) juice as the souring ingredient. Aside from the soup actually tasting sourer, there are nutrients that sampaloc contributes to the dish that other artificial souring ingredients don’t have. The process of extracting sampaloc juice, however, is a long one: boil the sampaloc for about 20 minutes until the skins burst, mash the sampaloc in a bowl (with half of the cooking liquid), strain the juice into another bowl and mash again to force out all the juice. And voila, you have the souring ingredient for your Sinigang na bangus!
Tinola (Chicken ginger stew)
An old-time Pinoy favorite, Tinola even earned a mention in Dr. Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere in its first few chapters. If you want your own bowl of this hot stew, all you have to do is sauté chicken in onions, garlic, and ginger. Add water (just enough to cover) and season with patis (fish sauce) and pepper. Simmer everything for about 20 minutes. Toss in cubes of green papaya and simmer some more until the papaya is cooked through. Ten seconds before you turn off the heat, toss in your greens: spinach or malunggay. Best to serve this dish when it’s hot.
Beef nilaga (Beef stew with clear broth)
Some put saba (plantain banana) in their version of beef nilaga. Others toss in chunks of corn on the cob. And others insist that their Nilagang baka have bits of bone marrow floating in the soup. But the bottom line is always the same: beef nilaga, however it is prepared, is a hearty beef stew with melt-in-your-mouth cubes of beef, crunchy vegetables that are just cooked through, and a rich, flavorful beef broth that always hits the spot. As if this isn’t enough of a punch, squeeze some calamansi (plus a few drops of patis or fish sauce) over everything and you’ve got yourself a beefy blockbuster that’s as good eaten by itself or with a plate of hot white rice.
[Also check out a chef’s tips on how to cook the perfect Beef nilaga.]
Caldereta (Spicy beef stew)Originally featuring goat meat, this tomato sauce-based spicy stew eventually moved on to the more conventional beef. Adding to the exotic appeal of this Spanish-inspired dish, the first Caldereta dishes also had chunks of goat liver. Bell peppers, olives, peas, tomatoes, onions, and garlic round up Caldereta’s ingredients. To seal in all these complementary flavors, grate cheese over everything right before serving.
Pochero (Meat and vegetable stew)
Because this stew couldn’t seem to make up its mind which ingredient to showcase, it put in all three: chicken, beef, and pork. Of course, along with a strong supporting cast of potatoes, tomatoes, pechay (bok choy), saba, cabbage, green beans, and the usual garlic and onion. This is perfect for those who prefer to sip a steaming bowl of stew that’s both salty and sweet (the saba takes care of the sweet part, in this case). Fun fact: In Cebu, pochero goes by another name, which, coincidentally, refers to another favorite Pinoy stew—bulalo.