This soup is so good you’ll swear out loud. The soup’s name is an expletive in the Pampango dialect. But before I translate the swear word, let me tell you how a crisis brings out the best in everyone. Storm Sandy hit us in the east coast and left such devastation. It also brought out the best soups from my pantry. We were caught off guard by the storm calamity but I was not totally unprepared.
With the constant power outages, I quickly surveyed my pantry and found a gold mine in the cans of sardines I had received a while ago from my dear friend, Carmen. She had thoughtfully sent me a generous supply of sardines along with the Filipino cured meat products she makes.
I knew instantly I could whip up a good pot of sardine soup. I sautéed garlic, onions, tomatoes and poured in the sardines, broth and spinach. After a quick boil I had a simmering potful of sinfully good, tomato-flavored sardines soup. It is so amazing that the original recipe of this soup is a Pampango expletive that translates to “Soup! Son of a b—-!“. For those who are curious, Pampanga, a province north of Manila, is known as the “culinary capital of the Philippines”. Yes, I swear this soup is that good! Served hot with the fragrant boiled jasmine rice, it was splendid and swear-worthy!
One of my go-to dinners is a soup dish that's filled with a favorite ingredient : a can of sardines. My parents taught me the versatility of sardines and I've created different entrees, sides, soups or appetizers with it. This sardine soup is no exception. It is so good that the original name is a Pampango expletive, which translates to "Soup! Son of a b----!" It drives home the point that this simple sardine soup is so good, you'll swear out loud after the first slurps. This recipe was inspired by the original one " Sabo Tacsyapu na!" from the cookbook 'Atching Lillian's Heirloom Recipes' by Pampanga cookbook author Lillian M. Borromeo. This soup serves 2 if eaten by itself or if enjoyed with rice.
- vegetable or corn oil - 2 Tablespoons
- garlic - 1 Tablespoon, crushed
- onion - 1 whole, sliced
- tomato - 1 large, sliced
- Spanish sardines - 1 (4 3/8 ounce) can or 124 gm., in tomato sauce and olive oil
- water or vegetable broth - 2 to 3 cups
- fresh spinach - 1 to 2 cups
- salt - 1 teaspoon
- black pepper powder - 1 teaspoon
- In a medium pot, over medium high heat, add the vegetable or corn oil.
- Saute the garlic, onions and tomatoes. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, till onions and tomatoes are soft.
- Add the sardines and mix around in the sauté. Crush the sardines to make small particles and so it incorporates the flavors of the tomato-onion mixture.
- Add the broth. Allow to boil, then lower heat to a slow simmer.
- Add the spinach leaves, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes till spinach is soft, but not wilted. Serve piping hot with a big bowl of boiled jasmine white rice.
- COOK'S COMMENTS: For this recipe, I used a can of 'Martin Pure Foods Eat Fish Spanish Sardines in Tomato Sauce & Olive Oil', a gift from my college chum, Carmen Rabano Martin.