Sinigang Na Hipon is a classic Filipino dish. The popular sour soup features shrimp and vegetables in a base of tamarind broth.
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Na Hipon is just one of several versions of tamarind broth soup known as Sinigang (pronounced ‘see-Nee-Gangh’). Sinigang is typically made with either pork (usually ribs), beef, chicken, shrimp, or fish. And it’s almost as popular as chicken adobo.
In general, most authentic Filipino food can be pretty unhealthy. It tends to be greasy and the recipes call for a lot of fatty meats. That being said, there are plenty of healthy options, like this shrimp soup made with tamarind!
What is tamarind?
This particular Sinigang recipe starts with a base of tamarind soup mix which provides the sour taste. Tamarind is a pod-like fruit, natively grown on trees in tropical regions of Africa. These days, it also grows in tropical areas of Mexico, the Caribbean, and Asia.
Sweet yet tart in flavor, with a pleasant floral aroma, the sticky pulp of tamarind pods is very potent. As a result, a little goes a long way; you won’t need much to make the broth for Filipino sour soup.
Tamarind Nutrition and Health Benefits
In addition to its tasty, sweet and sour flavor, tamarind provides a lot of health benefits!
One serving (1/2 cup) of tamarind pulp has an average of 140 calories. It is a good source of:
- vitamins B and C
- phosphorus, and
Thanks to the nutrients in tamarind, it is high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The extract from the seeds may help lower blood sugar levels. Plus, studies show that the pulp may be helpful in reversing illnesses like Fatty Liver Disease. (source)
Ingredients in Sinigang Na Hipon
My version of this healthy soup recipe calls for several fresh veggies, including:
- fresh string beans
- spinach (baby spinach or bok choy will also work)
- red and green tomatoes
- Daikon radish
- okra, and
- green chili peppers
When you shop for the shrimp to make Sinigang Na Hipon, keep in mind that you will want several large shrimp for each serving. Look for shrimp with the shells, tails, and heads still intact. As a result, the soup broth will have a lot more flavor. Essentially, those shells combine with water to create flavorful shrimp stock.
Depending on where you live, you may not be able to find large unpeeled fresh shrimp, and that’s okay! Many Asian food markets sell it, but if you can’t find any, just use frozen unpeeled shrimp instead.
Also, it is unlikely that you will be able to find frozen shrimp with the heads intact. If that is the case, don’t worry; the soup will still be delicious.
Can you freeze Sinigang?
In general, most soups are freezer-friendly. The only concern with freezing Sinigang shrimp soup is the seafood. After you cook shrimp, it can be difficult to reheat them without overcooking them.
If you want to freeze the soup, my suggestion is to remove any cooked shrimp first. Just freeze the broth and vegetables, then add fresh shrimp into the pot as you are reheating the soup. Or, you can freeze the cooked shrimp separately, as explained below.
How to Freeze Soup (and Reheating Instructions)
You can freeze soup in one of two ways; by the batch, or in individual portions. Freezing individual portions is a great idea, especially if you like to prepare lunches ahead of time.
Whether you want to freeze the soup in a large batch or individually, keep these tips in mind:
- Cool the soup to room temperature first.
Avoid the temptation to transfer warm soup into freezable plastic bags or freezable storage containers. This is because, if the soup isn’t completely cool, condensation will form inside the container. As a result, it is likely to cause freezer burn to form on the soup.
- Avoid freezing cooked shrimp.
As mentioned earlier, it can be easy to overcook shrimp during the reheating process. So, either leave the shrimp out entirely or freeze the cooked shrimp separately from the rest of the soup. The night before you want to serve the soup, place the container(s) in a refrigerator to thaw.
If you freeze cooked shrimp, allow them to thaw overnight as well. Then, simply add thawed shrimp to the soup as it reheats on the stove. It will only need a minute or two to reheat. I like to add it a couple of minutes before the soup is finished re-heating; just long enough to warm it through.
- Reheat on a stove top if possible.
It is possible to reheat Sinigang in a microwave, but it’s better to reheat it slowly over medium heat on the stove. if you choose to microwave it, do so in small servings rather than heating an entire batch at one time.
What to Serve with Sinigang Na Hipon
This shrimp soup is delicious on its own, but when Filippino cooks make it, they often serve it with or over a bed of white rice. Obviously, that isn’t an option if you want this to be a low carb, keto-friendly soup.
Other Favorite Low Carb Filipino Recipes
Looking for more keto friendly Filipino dishes? Here’s a few of my favorites:
- Sinangag Garlic Fried Cauliflower Rice
- Ensaladang Talong Eggplant Salad
- Spaghetti Squash Pancit
- Pork Belly Adobo
If you’d like to see more recipes for Filipino foods, let me know which ones in the comment section below.
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Sinigang Na Hipon Shrimp Filipino Soup
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- 2 Pounds Large Shrimp shells, tails, heads intact
- 1 Piece Green Tomato quartered
- 3 Pieces Ripe Tomatoes quartered
- ½ Cup Yellow Onion quartered
- 1 Piece Daikon Radish sliced
- 5 ounces Green Beans bite sized cuts
- 3.5 ounces Small Okra
- 14 ounces Fresh Spinach
- 3 Pieces Green Chili Peppers
- 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce or to taste
- 1 packet Tamarind Soup Mix 40 Grams
- 2 to 3 Cups Water
- Salt if using
- Properly wash shrimps with cold running water. Pat dry. Opt to season with salt.
- In a casserole or deep large pan, add ¼ cup water, tomatoes and onions. Sauté until onions are translucent. Add the remaining water and bring to a boil.
- Once water has boiled, slowly add Okra, radish, green beans and sprinkle tamarind soup mix. Continue to boil for 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables start to soften.
- Add the shrimps to the boiling broth, make sure they are all submerged in broth. Cover and boil for 5 to 8 minutes or until each shrimp turned golden orange in color. Do not overcook shrimps. Turn off heat and add spinach. Cover. Allow spinach to wilt before serving.
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Note on Nutritional Information
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