So I tiptoed to the the sites of the creators Mrs. Wheelborrow's Kitchen and The Yummy Mummy to figure it out. These two wonderful ladies are bringing back the old-fashioned way of curing, salting and smoking meats. Something that I've never done before, and quite frankly, I was intrigued... so here I am stepping up, joining the challenge they have set up. To know more about the fun challenges, you could click here.
The March challenge is brining, There are different options to choose from, so I opted to make corned beef. Oh yes corned beef... that red looking beef brisket that is usually in a sealed bag at the grocery store or the ones that you buy from a deli or for us Filipinos, the one that is canned! While making corned beef, I never thought it would be that easy. Who would have thought? The most difficult part really is the waiting game (as you brine the beef brisket for 5-7 days).
How fortuitous that the challenge this month is corned beef? What with St. Patty's Day just around the corner. Or maybe that's what the hosts had in mind for this challenge.
I first did my version of an Irish jig more than ten years ago when we migrated here in the US. I don't particularly remember any similar kind of celebration in my home country. All I can remember is that my first year here in the U.S., I dressed my kids in green outfits and shamrock necklaces. I did such a good job dressing them up that it convinced my second daughter she was part Irish. And for dinner, I remember quite vividly how my father-in-law introduced me into eating corned beef. He had a big slab of red beef sliced thinly on a big white platter boiled to perfection with brussel sprouts and potatoes. It was my first corned beef meal beyond the canned corned beef that I was accustomed to back home.
"Eat this with horseradish" said my father-in-law Oh boy did I love it. From that time on, everytime I cook corned beef, I would perfectly do it exactly as how he served it to us more than a decade ago. Corned beef with brussel sprouts, potatoes and horseradish on the side.
But for today's challenge, I wanted to stamp a Filipino badge on my dish, a unique take on a common Filipino food. Instinctively, I imagined corned beef as a breakfast staple. We usually have it for breakfast, either with our pandesal (literally means salt bread) or with sinangag (fried rice) but I'm going on a new adventure - so I'm taking this Irish staple to a trip to the Far East.
Inspired by what I had in my pantry I made Corned Beef Sinigang (Corned Beef in Tamarind broth)
Sinigang is a sour soup. Traditionally, pork and shrimp are the main ingredients for the soup. Tamarind or guava are usually the souring agents. I never get tired cooking Sinigang as it is comfort food for my family, as I usually cook this when my girls come home from their school break... and after each sip of the soup, I could almost hear them say "I'm home!"
Now the vegetables that you see here are okra, radish and eggplant. You could also add long beans. I sliced my corned beef as cubes to follow the template of pork sinigang, complete with a thin-layer of fat ala "liempo".
3 lbs. Corned beef (sliced in cubes)
2 pcs. radish (thinly sliced)
2 pcs. eggplant (thinly sliced)
1 pack okra
3 medium tomatoes
2 pcs. onions (quartered)
1 pack tamarind soup base
fish sauce (optional)
Other vegetables that you could add on include: taro, bokchoy and chili to give this dish a kick.
In a pot, boil rice water (water used for washing rice) onions and tomatoes. Add the corned beef. Cook until tender. Add the vegetables and the souring agent. You may want to add a small amount of the souring agent first then see from there. Season with fish sauce or, if unavailable, with salt.