Batuan is a traditional souring ingredient from Iloilo. While I’ve heard about batuan before, it was only last week that I got to try it in Sinigang. I really enjoyed the dish, and am now a huge fan of this little fruit.
This pack of batuan was being sold at the Negros Trade Fair. After a little Googling, I learned that batuan is a relative of the mangosteen. It is very regional, used mostly in the Visayas region and some parts of Mindanao. Batuan is used in a variety of dishes — kansi, sinigang, paksiw, even chicken inasal. How versatile this little fruit is! Learn more about Batuan from Eli F.J. Tajanlangit’s article “Garcinia binucao”. It’s a good read.
How does one cook Sinigang sa Batuan? It follows the same recipe as any sinigang, except you use the batuan in place of your regular souring agent. In our case, we:
1. (In a pot) Sauteed onions, garlic and tomatoes with a little oil, then sauteed the pork.
2. Added water to the pot to cover all ingredients and brought it to a boil.
3. Added 3 pieces of batuan to the pot, then brought the liquid down to a simmer.
4. Checked the batuan once in awhile to see how tender it was getting. When it was soft enough, we mashed and strained it so more sourness could come out.
5. Added vegetables (kangkong, radish, okra, etc.), continued to simmer. DONE!
Note: In the end we ended up using a total of 5 pieces of batuan. You can add more if you like your dish sourer. Keep tasting the dish! Please note that this was 5 pieces of batuan to a little over 1/4 kilo of pork.
1. The broth with batuan has a cloudy white color to it compared to the usual brown tinge it has when cooked with tamarind mix.
2. The sourness was PERFECT for me. It was sour but not aggressive. I felt the sourness was more “round”. I can’t find the words. Malinamnam? Buo? I liked that I could relish the sourness without it overwhelming my tastebuds.
Conclusion? This has got to be my favorite sinigang souring agent. REALLY loved it. We still have a couple more batuan left. Next time we’ll try preparing it with sinigang sa bangus (milkfish). I don’t know if fresh batuan is available in Manila, but I sure will keep my eyes peeled the next time we go to the supermarket.
Marketman blogs that Batuan Puree is available at Tiendesitas, so maybe I’ll try that next. Here are a bunch more blog reads on batuan. I’m making a note of these reads for the next time we prepare another dish with batuan: Sinigang na Bangus using Batuan by Domestic Urbanite, Fresh Batuan, Sinigang na Batuan at Bangus by Marketman
Now I know what to ask for the next time a relative goes to Iloilo. Pabilin ng BATUAN!