On a personal note, sinigang na baka is not all sour. There’s a bit of sweetness to it, too. Its soup is heavier than that of sinigang na baboy (pork); perhaps because of the flesh of the guava fruit which adds to the thickness of the dish. It does make a lot of sense that the guava fruit makes this beef dish rich and tasty because it is a sweet fruit (when eaten) and packed with Vitamic C (acid) at the same time.
Honestly though, while I know from menus in Filipino restaurants and dried packets of sinigang mixes that guava may be used in cooking sinigang, I haven’t really tried cooking with guava until my hubby introduced me to it. I’d say this dish is very easy to cook. You just need to have patience as it takes time to tenderize the meat. The procedure is very similar with the other variations of the sinigang, with just a few added steps.
See the ingredients and directions below.
Ingredients in cooking sinigang na baka:
- Beef spare ribs, 1kg (or any part, preferably with bones)
- Whole tomatoes, 5pcs, uncut
- Garlic, 6-8 cloves, bruised
- Onions, 3 pcs, chopped
- Kangkong (swamp cabbage, water spinach)
- Sitaw (string beans) - optional
- Gabi (taro) - optional
- Guava, 3-5pcs, ideally not fully ripened
- Salt, 2tsp
- Fish sauce, to taste
- Water, 1.5-2ltrs (Depends on the part of beef, the lesser the bones the fewer the water)
- Long green chili (optional but desired)
Mama Sita Sinigang sa Baka mix is an optional ingredient. We put it when we don’t have enough guava. We don’t usually have them at home because it’s quite an expensive commodity. When our neighbour shares their backyard harvest of guava, we freeze them so we can cook sinigang na baka for later. Sometimes it is not enough (boohoo!!), so we compromise with Mama Sita packets! Works wonders! :)
Directions in cooking:
1. Put the beef in a pot with water and salt.
2. Scoop out the scum after 10 minutes or just when the water is about to boil.
3. Put in the garlic, onions, tomatoes and guava.
No need to cut through the tomatoes and guava. Let them soften and be in one with the dish as it cooks.4. Let it boil under low heat for about an hour.
Depending on the thickness of the meat and the heat, you may need to extend the hour to 10-20 minutes. In my case, I don’t mind the wait because the final product would be meat off the bones tender. Also, avoid opening the pot every now and even. If you feel the need to stir, do so after 30 minutes and that’s it. Leave the dish and let it cook.5. When the meat is tender, add in the vegetables.
6. Season with fish sauce to taste.
7. When the vegetables change colour into a more vibrant green, they are cooked.
8. Put the long green chili on top.
9. Turn of the heat and let it sit for several minutes.
10. Serve with hot rice.
I hope I gave you a very clear idea on how to cook sinigang na baka sa bayabas. Remember me when you cook!