Sinantomas is Quezon province’s version of our favourite caldereta and is jam-packed with literally a lot of flavors you can imagine: sweet, salty, sour and umami. This savoury dish will definitely make you go “extra rice”.
I first tasted this dish when I went to Quezon province to eat at my colleague’s debut party. I am really not familiar with this dish before but after I took a bite of sinantomas, it instantly caught my attention. It tasted familiar but with something special that I am yet to find out. I researched on the sinantomas recipe and found out that sinantomas is the Quezon province’s version of the classic Filipino caldereta. When I checked on the recipe, I found out that the special ingredient used in this dish is the pineapple juice. It was just pineapple juice all along! It’s amazing how this simple ingredient added that unique flavour in the dish.
And so one day I cooked this dish for lunch my family members got curious because the “caldereta was special”. I introduced them to sinantomas but I didn’t disclose all about the pineapple juice. I guess it will just be me convincing them that I’m a great cook! In my version, instead of the canned pineapple juice, I use the store-bough pineapple tidbits and mash them along with the juice before I put them in the flavorful marinade.
HOW TO MAKE SINANTOMAS
You start your sinantomas by marinating your pork spareribs. If the spareribs you bought is a big chunk, cut it first into small pieces. Unlike usual pork marinades, the sinantomas marinade has better and taste brought by the pineapple juice. So add in your soy sauce, pineapple juice and banana ketchup in the bowl. It is advisable to make your marinade first in a separate bowl so that you can fully mix the banana ketchup with a thick consistency to the other constituents. But if you have less time, putting all of the ingredients at once would still work. Marinate your spareribs for at least 1 to 2 hours to ensure that the taste of the marinade will sip into your spareribs. If you have a lot of time, you can marinate your spareribs overnight.
When your spareribs are ready, it’s cooking time. Heat some oil in a pan and fry your potatoes wedges. Just fry them until they are slightly brown. Remove the potatoes from the pan and set it aside. The reason why we must not include the potatoes while cooking the other ingredients is that potatoes have the tendency to become mushy when overcooked, especially that sinantomas has sauce in it. In the same pan, sauté your vegetables.
It is common for the Filipinos to sauté garlic first before the other vegetables to have that garlicky aroma and flavour spread throughout the kitchen. But to prevent the garlic from being too burnt, I sauté my onion first. In this case both my onions and garlic were cooked perfectly fine. Continue sautéing and add your tomatoes. Since we are dealing with a rich sauce, it is recommended to use the ripe tomatoes or the plump ones. These tomatoes has both the right amount of sweetness and sourness which will add flavour to the sinantomas. While doing research on this dish, I knew that some people use tomato sauce instead of fresh tomatoes. I think both will work so just choose what’s available on your food counter.
When the vegetables are finish sautéing, add your marinated pork spareribs in the pan. Reserve your marinade because you will use it for your sauce later. Cook your pork until slightly brown. The marinade will add a dark color to your pork due to soy sauce so always check the doneness of your pork. When the pork is cooked, add your reserved marinade and the peppercorns. Allow it to cook for a while and then add your green peas. Continue seasoning the sauce with fish sauce. Add the cheese and allow it to melt with the sauce. Some people add sugar to their sauce but I am already satisfied with the sweetness brought by the pineapple. Return the fried potatoes that you set aside and allow it to cook with the rest of the ingredients. When the sauce thickens, your sinantomas is ready. Turn off the heat and serve your sinantomas with rice.
1 kilo pork spareribs
1 potato (cut into 8 pieces)
1 can green peas 239g
1 medium-sized onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
5 pcs tomatoes, sliced
4 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup pineapple juice (60mL)
2 tablespoons banana ketchup
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
fish sauce to taste
¾ cup water
¼ cup cheese
- In a large bowl, put your spareribs and add soy sauce, pineapple juice and banana ketchup. Mix well and marinate for 1 to 2 hours.
- In a pan, heat some oil. Add your potatoes and cook until slightly brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, sauté onion, tomatoes and garlic.
- Add the marinated spareribs in the pan. Cook until slightly brown. Add water and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the reserved marinade and peppercorns. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the green peas. Season with fish sauce, add the cheese and return the potatoes.
- Cook until sauce thickens then remove from heat.
- Serve and enjoy.