Back in the Philippines, I have never really been adventurous as far as cooking is concerned. If the recipe is called Pinakbet, I'd stick with what should be included in a pinakbet. If a sinigang calls for tamarind soup base, i'd stick to the tamarind soup base. And if the ingredients are not available, i'd change my mind and cook another one where ingredients are available.
It was only when I have tried other ethnic recipes that I have learned that you shouldn't live in a box. I can cook a spicy soup like the one above with basically nothing but leftovers. Whatever is found in the cupboard, I'd live with. Take the case of this recipe. I cannot tell whether this is A Filipino dish or not. I used a little bit of tamarind soup base, a handful of calamari squid, a handful of prawns, a few slices of carrots, a few oyster mushroom and a few snow peas. I had fish sauce to put a little flavour to it, lots of ginger, a bit of chili powder. It was enough to keep my hubby happy.
I wonder if anyone (except Sassy) has tried making a sinigang out of what we call "Baguio Vegetables" in the Philippines. I told my sister about it but all she asked me was "anong lasa?"(how does it taste like) with a little skepticism in her tone. Oh well, she's got to try it so she knows what I'm talking about. There'd be a lot of cooking lessons for my sister when we go home this Christmas.