Filipino-Batangas "Bulalo"

Bulalo is a soup dish consisting of beef shanks and bone marrow. The original way of cooking this dish is to simply stew the beef shanks and bone marrow with added salt and pepper to season. Variations come into play when you use ingredients you may not have cooked before, such as adding oxtail and depending on what vegetables you would like to add to the dish - may it be a corn, plantain banana, string beans, onions, bokchoy, cabbage, garlic, ginger, potato, carrots, or pechay.

Bulalo is one of the most favorite dishes in the Philippines. It's a classic Filipino dish and its authenticity goes back during the pre-hispanic era when boiling, grilling, steaming, and roasting were the best known methods of cooking. Many believe that Bulalo originated in the regions of Southern Luzon in the Philippines but they are divided as to what particular city or province where it really fist started. Some believe that it first started in the province of Batangas where Bulalo is a very popular dish that there is no other food to symbolize the province but Bulalo. Others believe that it orginates in Tagaytay city in Cavite where you can find Bulalo in most of the restaurants anytime in the morning, noon and night time.

Normally, natives in Southern Luzon provinces of Laguna, Batangas, and Cavite stew the beef shanks with its bone marrow intact for long hours or even a day to extract most of the flavor from the beef shank and bone marrow.

For practical reason and to make life easy, pressure cooker is the best alternative in stewing the beef shank and beef marrow bones. Not only will it accelerate the cooking process but will save you a lot of time and effort as well.

Batangas Bulalo Image

Bulalo Ingredients

  • 1 kilo beef shank (with bone and marrow); cut in chunks
  • 1 small head cabbage (repolyo); quartered
  • 1/4 kilo Chinese cabbage (pechay)
  • 2 potatoes; quartered
  • 1 onion; sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic; crushed
  • 2 corns; cut in halves
  • 3/4 tablespoon peppercorns
  • Salt to taste
  • Fish sauce
  • 1 lemon or 5 kalamansi

Soy sauce Bulalo Cooking Instructions

  1. Fry potatoes in 3 minutes. Set aside
  2. In a stock pot, stew the beef shank (with bone and marrow) with salt, onion, and garlic for at least one hour.
  3. Remove the scum that rises above the soup. Add more hot water if necessary.
  4. When beef is fork tender, add the corn, potato, and peppercorns.
  5. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add cabbage and Chinese cabbage.
  6. Season with fish sauce according to taste.
  7. Remove from fire and serve hot with a mixture consisting of soy sauce and lemon or kalamansi juice.

Cooking Tips

  • Boiling the Bulalo slowly and gently over low heat brings out the flavor of the meat, and keeps the meat very tender.
  • But but but....if you don't have much time and you want to expedite the cooking process, use "pressure cooker" to soften the meat of the beef shank or oxtail. When tender, add the necessary ingredients.