My Uncomplicated Pork Ribs Sinigang (Ribs in Sour Tamarind Soup)

This is a Sunday favorite at my house — gotta have sinigang, gotta have ribs.  And my Glenn is forever thankful for my introducing him to one of Filipinos comfort foods, sinigang, it’s a treat for him, “I smell sinigang, I like it!”.    This isn’t how Filipinos normally cook sinigang…it’s the uncomplicated version for a lazy Sunday lunch.  Try it, and it’s “sinigang-good” everytime!

PORK RIBS SINIGANG (Ribs in Sour Tamarind Soup)

2 lbs pork ribs, washed and cut between bones to separate
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pack (40 g) Knorr Tamarind Soup Mix
1 to 2 tablespoons patis or fish sauce
3 pcs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in big chunks
vegetables (I use broccoli, green beans, cabbage or bok choy)

Place ribs in a stockpot and add cold water just to cover the ribs.   Bring to a heavy boil, then drain, discarding the water.   Add to the pot the chopped onion, diced tomatoes, Knorr tamarind soup mix and fish sauce.  Pour 8 cups of water over, cover the stockpot and bring water to boil.   Lower heat and let ribs continue to cook in the simmering broth until almost tender.  Add the sweet potato chunks and when almost softened, put in rest of the vegetables to cook for about 5 minutes.  At this time, cooked ribs are so tender enough that the meat literally falls off the bone (the way we love ribs!).

Serve with white rice.

Note:   Don’t have vegetables in the fridge?  Quick solution is open a can of spinach and add at the already tender ribs and cook until spinach just heated through.

Now, I told you it is that uncomplicated…go ahead and enjoy!

Chef David Hilo and Chef Omar’s Winning Recipe of Bicol Express

Chef David Hilo, 2011 graduate from Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, is moving soon to Cincinnati, Ohio to work in a plush sushi restaurant.   But glad to have him in the CelebrEATy Circle with his chef-buddy Chef “O” and shared their version of the “flaming dish” Bicol Express.   The 2 chefs were fun to watch while doing their prep works in the kitchen and really observed the “mise en place” and cut up veggies and meat the professional way.   Soon they were ready for the camera…and so as not to get embarrassed again for the second time, they made sure they had vegetable oil this time.  The 2 chefs entered a cooking competition with this same recipe few months back.  They admitted they were a bit nervous, like true first timers in food competition, and when it was their turn to do the demo, to their shock and horror, they didn’t have vegetable oil to saute chopped onions and ginger and minced garlic.  But they regained composure and boil coconut milk to extract coconut oil….brilliant, it even made the dish extra-special.  And they were handed the best dish of the nite…what a great story!  To both chefs, my congratulations and more power…I really encouraged them to audition for Food Network Star or Hell’s Kitchen…they both have the drive and passion, and I volunteered to work on their personality.  Here’s the recipe for the Bicol Express:


2 cans Coconut milk
1 can Coconut cream
1 root Ginger, chopped
3-5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 large Onion, chopped
1 Kalabasa (squash), peeled and chopped
10-15 finger long peppers
10-15 Thai chili pepper
1 red pepper, sliced
1 lb Pork loin, sliced
1 lb Shrimp

Visit Chef Omar’s blog:

and view their you tube demo: (demo on Bicol Express w/ Chef David Hilo)


Alice Monk’s Pork Menudo

It’s “back to usual” at the CelebrEATy Circle!  For my 2nd offering this New Year I invited a good friend to join me in my kitchen.  She wowed me with her arroz caldo, so I was pretty convinced she really can cook (and she is definitely not joining the “Worst Cooks” of America).   She didn’t even give it a second thought, she said yes.  Well, I assured her I’d make things easy (like I always do with my TV guests) for her.  And week before the shoot, I sent her this email.

From: Sarah Lee
Subject: hola loveliness
To: aliciamonk
Date: Friday, January 7, 2011, 6:12 PM

Hope the New Year is bringing you lots of joy and good news….

Let’s chat bout our shoot this Wednesday na…how time flies…let me know or send me the recipe you r goin to demo in CelebrEATy Circle so I can plan the shoot.

And what will be the color of your dress, so we r well coordinated hehe…yummy!

Thanks n take care,

Pork Menudo was her demo choice for her TV cooking debut.  Pork, yes pork, I love pork, I hardly cook pork on TV, so I was excited about this.  And Philippine-style menudo doesn’t include pork entrails/internal organs, and instead, pork meat and pork liver are cubed and sauteed with other ingredients.  Pork Menudo is a party favorite, and is great with steamy hot white rice.  I instructed Alicia to cook Pork Menudo the way she cook it for her hubby, Harry.  And she rushed me this recipe right away!  The shoot is on!

From: Alicia Monk
Subject: Fw:Pork Menudo Recipe
To: divasarah
Date: Saturday, January 8, 2011, 5:00 PM

Hi !  Ms. Sarah Lee,

Here is my recipe of Pork Menudo

Menudo Ingredients:

*1/2 kilo pork(cut into small chunks)
*1/4 kilo pork liver(cut into small cubes)
*6 pieces hotdog/sausage (also cut in small pieces)
*4 potatoes (peeled, cut in small cubes, fried)
*1 medium size green and 1 medium size red pepper (diced)
*1 cup chickpeas
*1/4 cup raisins
*1/2 teaspoon paprika
*1 cup pork or chicken stock
*2 teaspoons of patis (fish sauce)
*4 tablespoons oil
*1 cup tomato sauce
*1 head of garlic (minced)
*1 big size onion(diced)

Cooking Instructions:

*In a pan or wok, heat cooking oil
*Saute garlic, onion. Then add the pork, liver, hotdog, tomato sauce, bell pepper,
paprika, patis and the stock.
*Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the pork is tender.
*Add the chickpeas, potatoes and raisins.
*Boil for another 2 minutes
*Salt and Pepper to taste.
*Serve hot

Sarah, see if my recipe is ok, I will call and talk to you soon.

Love u……Alice Monk

Alice confided she started her day much much early at the day of the shoot.  She needed to make sure she got all the ingredients ready and packed before heading to the studio.  She arrived an hour early and I already found her doing prep works.  2 important preps:  boiling pork cubes and frying cubed potatoes.

So I gave Alice final instructions before we faced the cameras; we talked about the sequence.  And Alice delivered, she “rocked” and the camera was loving her.  And the pork menudo, it just smelled so great, it tasted fabulous.  Great job Alice!  It was indeed a fun shoot.

And for a more “wow” factor next time, I told Alice to add some grated cheddar cheese and cubed chorizo de bilbao.  Also to achieve a brighter red color, either use Sazon achuete sachet or just extract red coloring from annato or achuete seeds with hot oil.  And lastly, add banana catsup to make sauce a bit sweeter.

Congratulations again Miss Alice!