Pampangan Chicken Sinigang: Tamarind has Many More Uses than an Average Fruit.


Bok Choy, jalepeño, okra, chinese radish and tamarind seasoning.

Aiesha Solomon, Senior Staff Writer

Growing up in a bi-racial Filipino and Ghanaian home you learn the best of both cultures, and the extensive cuisine is one of the best parts. The Filipino Sinigang has been shared and cooked by people all over the island and transformed in each Province that has taken it on.

According to Pampangan born, home cook, Cecilia Solomon, “The Filipino province of Pampanga is known all over the island as the culinary capital.” It’s not just a biased claim either, historically Pampanga was the first Spanish province in the country as of 1571. This means that Spaniard settlers were teaching the Pampanga indigenous people their own Spanish food first before any other region in the country. In the three hundred thirty three years of Spaniard colonization a fusion of Filipino-Spanish cuisine was forged and created many historical dishes of today.

Being the first Filipino-Spanish province, Pampanga has the most authentic of the fusion food such as the Sinigang. This dish is well know for its use of the sour tamarind taste. The tamarind comes from a tree baring only this sour pod-like fruit that has many uses in tropical regions all over the world. The pulp inside the fruit’s pod is what chef’s use to flavor the soup. Along with meats, such as beef, chicken and pork, these can also be switch up for seafood like shrimp and fish. A multitude of veggies are added to this dish like string bean, radish, bok choy and even jalapeño peppers. The greatest part of Filipino dishes like Sinigang are the endless possibilities of what can be added that won’t ruin the overall taste of the food.

Knowing this, I hope those who want to give this recipe a try have fun and enjoy this dish along with friends and family after learning its cultural significance.


  • Thinly chop 1/4th cup of ginger.
  • Dice four cloves of garlic into small pieces.
  • Dice two medium sized tomatoes
  • Wash and destem 1/2 a pound of baby boo choy.
  • One deskinned and chopped chinese radish.
  • Add medium sized whole chicken that has been chopped into small pieces
  • Cut ends off of 15 okra
  • Six cups of water
  • Wash three jalapeño peppers
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cooking Directions:

  1. Put a medium sized pot on medium heat, then add one tablespoon of vegetable oil after the pot has warmed.
  2. After the oil has warmed add the onion, tomato, ginger, and garlic.
  3. Cook the garlic, onion, and ginger until translucent and fragrant.
  4. Add the chicken and sauté until chicken turns from pink to white in the tomato/onion/ginger/garlic mixture.
  5. Cover and let simmer for ten minutes.
  6. After ten minutes add five cups of water to the afore-mentioned ingredients.
  7. Let one 50 gram packet of Sinigang Tamarind Seasoning desolve in half a cup of water before adding to the soup.
  8. Add radish 5 minutes before other vegetables.
  9. Cover again until the chicken is ready (tender) then add the remaining ingredients (baby bok choy, jalapeños, and okra) and boil for 7 minutes or until the veggies have softened in texture (but not to the point they smush).
  10. Cover one final time after the desolved Sinigang mixture has been added and let boil for 5 more minutes.
  11. Add water to the soup to your taste if it is too sour.
  12. Enjoy with some rice of your choosing, Jasmine is the best for this dish though.