Last month during my visit to my daughter and her family in Georgia there was an epic snowstorm in the East Coast. My grandson, Devon, requested I make him some “Sinigang”. I was surprised that he even knew what it was, but it seems that one of their friends makes it. Of course I said yes, after all that’s what Nanas do, cook for the grandkids! This Shrimp Sour Soup is the perfect comfort food for cold rainy (or snowy) days!
This was one of my favorite childhood dishes and I was happy to find out that my grandchildren love it too. Like many Filipino dishes this soup is very easy to prepare. Traditionally my grandmothers used tamarind (sampaloc) or the small Filipino limes called “Calamansi” to make the soup sour. These days it’s so much easier, you can buy the powdered soup base at most Asian markets or even order it on Amazon! (Affiliate Link)
This dish is typically eaten with steamed white rice with a side of “Patis“, Filipino fish sauce also available at Asian markets and on Amazon. It can be made with fish, shrimp, or meat with assorted vegetables like spinach, radish, eggplant, tomatoes, onions, or string beans. This time I made it with shrimp, spinach, radish, tomatoes, onions, and jalapeno pepper. I like to add the pepper to give it a bit of spice, we all love spicy things in our family.
In most Filipino households this shrimp soup is made with whole shrimps, meaning shrimps with shells and heads on. I’m not a big fan of shrimp heads so I use shrimps with shells on. You can also use prawns if you have any handy.
Many of us are familiar with Tabbouleh Salad, the Middle Eastern salad usually made with tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, and cracked bulgar wheat. It’s become a staple offered at many Vegetarian, Health Food, and Middle Eastern restaurants. At home we make it too, but really my husband much prefers the Arabic Salad with Kishk.
Kishk or Kashk is basically dried yogurt or curdled milk that can be formed into balls or chunks and later ground into a powder. It is used in local cuisine from Iran to Mongolia and is known by different names and prepared in slightly different ways.
In our house we use the Lebanese, Syrian, or Palestinian Kishk which is made by mixing powdery bulgar cereal with yogurt. The mixture is usually formed into balls and dried.
We use it to make mensaf (a lamb stew simmered in a liquid form of Kishk), Arabic Salad, and Kafta (ground meat balls) among other things.
I usually get the balls from my sister-in-law who makes them at home, but I’ve also bought jars of powdered Kishk in Middle Eastern markets.
Arabic Salad is quite tasty and very simple to make. It’s a great starter, side dish or even a light meal. My kids love to mix it in with a dish of Macluba (and upside down dish of meat and rice) and my husband likes to eat it drizzled with olive oil and pita bread for scooping.
If you don’t have Kishk, no worries, substitute finely grated fresh parmesan cheese!
1 Large Tomato
1 Medium Cucumber
1 Small Onion
1 Tbls. Finely Minced Garlic
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Parsley
3 Large Radishes, peeled and finely diced
1 Large Jalapeno, seeds removed and finely dices
1/4 – 1/2 Cup Kishk or Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
Ground Sea Salt to taste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Finely dice all the veggies.
Place in a bowl and mix well.
Add desired amount of Kishk or Parmesan Cheese to taste.
Add Sea Salt to taste.
Place on salad plates or shallow bowls for serving.
Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
You can scoop it up with fresh pita bread, pita chips, or crackers as a starter or side dish.
Store leftovers in the fridge in a tightly sealed container. Salad does not keep more than 2 days, and that’s pushing it!
Refreshing salad made with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers with a Middle Eastern taste!