The Happy Home Cook: Corned Beef Sinigang – Brisket in Tamarind Stew with Vegetables

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Corned Beef Sinigang (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Corned Beef Sinigang (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Corned Beef Sinigang is brisket cooked in tangy tamarind broth with vegetables usually found in the traditional sour soup recipe. Try making this dish in stages: first boil and soften the brisket. Then boil the beef soup bones. When meats are tender, assemble them together in a stew so sour with tamarind flavors that your face puckers up tight if you taste it. Toss in as much vegetables as the stockpot will allow. The spice recipe was inspired by Chef Day Salonga. The Sinigang recipe was inspired by Sentro's Corned Beef from Chef Claude Tayag in the cookbook Food Tours. My version serves 4.


  • corned beef brisket (in brine) - 2 to 3 lbs. (use spice packet or ingredients follow)
  • black peppercorns - 1 Tablespoon, for spice blend
  • mustard seeds - 1 Tablespoon, for spice blend
  • coriander seeds - 1 Tablespoon, for spice blend
  • red pepper flakes - 2 teaspoons, for spice blend
  • cinnamon stick - 1 piece, crushed to pieces, for spice blend
  • bay leaves - 3 pieces, crumbled, for spice blend
  • whole cloves - 1 Tablespoon, for spice blend
  • ground ginger - 1 Tablespoon, for spice blend
  • beef soup bones - 3 to 4 lbs.
  • onions - 2 pieces, sliced, divided, use 1 whole for beef bones, the rest for sinigang
  • vegetable oil - 2 Tablespoons
  • garlic - 2 cloves, crushed
  • tomatoes - 2 pieces, quartered
  • fish sauce or patis - 1 Tablespoon
  • organic broth (beef or chicken) - 6 to 8 cups
  • tamarind liquid concentrate - 2 Tablespoons (from Asian markets or online sources)
  • long green beans or sitaw - 1 cup sliced into 2-inch length pieces
  • Asian eggplants - 2 large pieces, sliced
  • Indian eggplants (round ones) - 4 pieces, sliced
  • red radish - 6 to 8 pieces, sliced in halves
  • water spinach or kangkong - 1 bunch or about 2 cups, sliced (or use regular spinach, same amount)
  • Chinese cabbage or pechay - 2 cups, shredded
  • fresh lemon - 1 whole, sliced
  • sea salt - 1 teaspoon
  • freshly ground black peppercorn - 1 teaspoon
  • boiled rice - for serving
Corned Beef Sinigang (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Corned Beef Sinigang (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)


  • Combine all the spice blend ingredients together with the corned beef brisket and water in a large stockpot. Pour enough water to cover the brisket. (Or use the spice packet that comes with the corned beef brisket if preferred). Cover and cook over medium heat till meat is soft. There are different ways to boil and soften the corned beef: Instant Pot Pressure Cooker – 45 minutes on high; Crock Pot Slow Cooker – 8 hours; stock pot on a stove top – boil then simmer for 5 to 6 hours. When corned beef is soft, discard liquid. Set the corned beef aside.

  • Separately, in a large stock pot, boil then simmer the beef soup bones in enough water to cover them. Add the onions and cook together with the beef bones. Other ways to cook beef bones: Instant Pot Pressure Cooker - 45 minutes; Crock Pot Slow Cooker 6 to 8 hours; stove top in a stock pot 5 to 6 hour. When meat has softened after a few hours, drain and discard liquid. Set aside the beef soup bones.

  • Using the same stockpot that softened the corned beef brisket (if it was cooked stove top), add cooking oil over medium high heat. Sauté the onions till soft. Add the garlic, tomatoes and patis or “fish sauce”. Pour the tamarind concentrate liquid and organic broth into the stockpot. Stir to blend the tamarind into the mixture. Cover stockpot.

  • Slice the corned beef in half-inch thick pieces. After tamarind broth boils, add the corned beef slices and the beef soup bones. Cover and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes. Let the flavors seep into the meats. Simmer for about 35 minutes.

  • Add the sliced vegetables into the sinigang broth starting with the long green beans (sitaw). After 5 minutes, add the eggplants, radish and lemon slices. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes more till eggplants are soft. Last, add the spinach and cabbage which cooks in 1 to 2 minutes. Serve piping hot with boiled rice.

  • Cook's Comments: In other Sinigang recipes, daikon radish is used. The red radishes were cheaper at the time this recipe was cooked. Feel free to add the daikon radish if available.

Ingredient tip: in the Philippines and among Filipinos the beef cut used to make Corned Beef Sinigang is called camto. It is advisable to use brisket or camto cuts that have enough fat marbling. Marbled beef gives juicier slices when cooked.

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Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino, based in New Jersey is a journalist and author of the “How to Cook Philippine Desserts: Cakes and Snacks” Cookbook. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and blogs about Filipino home cooking on her site

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