I’ve always had an internal struggle with keeping ingredients in the kitchen that are meant for only one dish. One of those things is the Sinigang Soup Powder mix. Of course we have it in the cupboard. My wife and I get our cravings for the tamarind soured soup and green, unripe tamarind is hard to come by in the States.
Yes, we can use the more versatile tamarind concentrates and tamarind pulp, which we also have, but look in any Filipino kitchen and chances are you’ll find powdered soup packets. Filipino homes have become use to its ease and convenience that it’s always on stock. But can the packets do anything else other than take up cabinet space when on standby for soup?
Not too long ago, I learned that I owed much more respect to the soup packet, just as much as the other ingredients we bring to the kitchen. I was at my mom’s for dinner. She pulled a roast out of the oven. I scratched my head because it had this slightly tangy taste that definitely wasn’t citrus or vinegar. “What did you put in this, Mom?” I asked. “Oh you know,” she said matter of factly, “I just sprinkled a little of the Sinigang mix cause I didn’t have any lemons.” Of course. Mom always knows best. You don’t have to be restricted in your own kitchen.
Soup packets are meant to be made into soup, but you’re the one that’s cooking, not the food label. Mom and her resourcefulness found the soup mix to be more versatile than it seemed. She expanded the possibilities, and gave the packet a respectable place in our kitchen cabinet.
PAN ROASTED CHICKEN THIGHS w/ BUTTERED SINIGANG SAUCE (Pan Roasted Chicken with Tamarind Pan Sauce)
Total Cooking Time: About 35 Minutes
- 4 Chicken Thighs (Skin-On and Bone-In)
- 6 Ounces Green Beans (Ends Trimmed)
- 1/2 Onion (Minced)
- 2 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Sinigang Powder Mix
- 1 1/2 Cups Hot Water
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- Cornstarch (Enough to cover the pats of butter)
- 1-2 Tablespoons Chives (Chopped) for garnish
- Stir the Sinigang powder mix with the hot water and set aside. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pat the chicken as dry as you can with paper towels.
- Season the chicken with 2 three-finger pinches of Kosher or coarse sea salt on the skin side of the chicken and 2 three-finger pinches of Sinigang powder mix on the bare meat side of the chicken.
- Without turning on the stove yet, pour about a tablespoon of cooking oil in an oven safe pan and swirl it around to lubricate the pan, ensuring that the entire surface is covered. Add more oil as needed.
- Place the chicken skin side down in the pan while the heat is still off.
- Turn on the stove to medium heat and let the chicken slowly start to sear and brown until crispy but not burned black, about 13-15 minutes. To check, slide a spatula to take a peak between the skin and the pan. If the skin seems to be sticking to the pan, let it keep searing (DO NOT force the spatula through to pry the chicken off the pan. Skin fused to the pan means it’s not ready yet. It will eventually let go by itself.)
- Once the skin is brown and crispy, flip the chickens over and insert the pan onto the oven on the top third rack. Let the chicken roast until cooked through (with an internal temperature of 165 degrees at the thickest part of the chicken, about 10 minutes.
- Place the pan back on the stove, switch the oven to broil on high, and remove the chicken and set them aside on a separate plate.
- Toss the green beans in the pan and thoroughly coat them with the chicken fat, then place the pan underneath the broiler until the green beans are blistered softened, about 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the pan and place it back on the stove. Turn off the broiler and turn on the stove to medium-low heat. Remove the green beans and set them aside on another plate. Season the green beans with 2 three-finger pinches of salt.
- Pour out about half of the rendered chicken fat and oil from the pan and plate the pan back on the stove over medium heat.
- Toss the onions in the pan and sauté until soft and translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Then, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Deglaze the pan by pouring the Sinigang soup into the pan and releasing any browned bits at the bottoms of the pan with a wired whisk or wooden spoon. Increase the heat to high and allow the pan to come to a boil.
- Toss the butter pats in cornstarch until the butter pats are completely covered in a layer of cornstarch.
- Once the pan is boiling, add the cornstarch covered butter to the pan and whisk to incorporate the butter into the sauce. Once the butter is all melted, stir the sauce 3-5 times to ensure the butter and cornstarch are well incorporated into the sauce.
- Allow the sauce to boil until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Taste the sauce and season/adjust to your liking if necessary.
- For a smoother consistency, strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl to remove the onions and garlic.
- To ensure the chicken skin stays crispy, drizzle only a little bit of sauce over the chicken when pouring sauce on the plate, or serve the sauce completely on the side.
- Garnish with chopped chives and serve.