Nilagang Baka Recipe
Nilagang Baka is a Filipino beef stew with variety of vegetable mix to it. Like the Bulalo recipe, this is a perfect dish during rainy days and cold season because of the hot soup it produce. The main difference between the two is that Nilagang Baka uses the beef's meat with or without the bone while Bulalo uses specifically the beef shanks with bone marrow.
History of Nilagang Baka can be traced way back during the pre-Hispanic or pre-colonial era when the Austronesians, people from Southeast Asia and Pacific, brought with them their simple cooking method of boiling in the Philippines. Nilagang Baka is a Tagalog term simply translated in English as "Boiled Beef". Way back when, the whole idea of Nilagang Baka is to simply boil the beef, add spices to it and then followed by vegetables. Depending on one's own preference, you can always add the vegetable of your choice but the most common vegetable ingredients of Nilagang Baka are onion, potato, pechay, and cabbage. Others add more vegetable like carrot, string beans, banana, and corn. However, in order to achieve the authentic flavorful blend of meat and vegetable in the soup, it is recommended to just use the most common vegetable ingredients because adding too much vegetables will alter the taste of the soup. Adding too much vegetable will make your Nilagang Baka taste more of a "vegetable" rather than the balance taste of "beef" and "vegetable".
Like any other Filipino dish in history, techniques are discovered to develop a more delicious taste. For our particular Nilagang Baka recipe, we intend to blend the juice of the onion and fish sauce with the beef. To achieve our intention, we place the beef's meat on top of the slices of onion until the onion produces its own juice which eventually will blend to the beef and, afterwhich, spice it with fish sauce. This combination of onion juice and fish sauce blended with the beef's meat will give you a flavorful taste of the beef prior to adding water and the rest of your ingredients.
Nilagang Baka Ingredients
- 1 kilo beef (brisket preferred but not necessary); cut in chunks
- 1 small head cabbage (repolyo); quartered
- 1/4 kilo Chinese cabbage (pechay)
- 2 potatoes; quartered
- 1 tablespoon garlic; crushed (optional)
- 1 onion; sliced
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- Fish sauce
- Salt to taste
- 2 beef boullion (optional)
- 1 lemon or 5 pcs kalamansi
- Soy sauce
Nilagang Baka Cooking Instructions
- Fry the potatoes in 3 minutes. Set aside
- In a stock pot with no water, simmer the onion with the beef on top until onion renders its juice and beef changes color.
- Season with fish sauce,cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Add water to cover, garlic, and peppercorns. Boil for at least one hour. More water maybe added if the beef if tough.
- When beef is tender, add the potatoes. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Season with salt according to taste or simply add boullion whichever you prefer.
- Add repolyo cabbage and Chinese cabbage. Cook until done.
- Remove from fire and serve hot! Side with fish sauce and lemon (or calamansi) juice or soy sauce with lemon (or calamansi) juice whichever is your preference.
- Boiling the beef chunks slowly and gently over low heat brings out the flavor of the meat, and keeps the meat very tender.
- However, 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. When tender, add the necessary ingredients.