Literally translated, nilagang baka means boiled beef. This soup is an all-time Filipino favorite but I rarely order it in restaurants since the broth usually tastes like beef bouillon cubes (too salty!) and lacks depth and the meat is usually too tough for my tastes. Besides, it couldn’t be more simple to make yourself, and the results are always much, much better. 🙂
For the meat, you can use almost any part you would like but I prefer using brisket or chuck/beef stew cubes. I’ve made this with a mixture of chuck and beef ribs and it was delicious too since the bones really added flavor to the broth.
Today, I used a half kilo of grass-fed beef from Down to Earth and brought this to a low simmer along with a roughly chopped onion and a lot of freshly ground black pepper for a good 5 hours. Good food sometimes take time…but it is always worth it! 🙂 By this time, the beef was extremely tender. Skim the scum off the top, if any, I didn’t have much today since I used fairly lean cubes. I seasoned the broth with a few tablespoons of salt and a little soy sauce then added the following:
- 2 medium potatoes, chopped into medium chunks
- half a head of cabbage, roughly chopped
- 1 bundle of pechay or bok choy
Other popular vegetables for this soup are carrots and corn on the cob but I don’t really like the broth to be even slightly sweet so I didn’t add them. We had two dipping sauces, soy sauce with calamansi and sili, and fish sauce (patis) also with calamansi and chili. As with most Asian dishes, this is fantastic on lots of steamed white rice.
Some days, whether it’s rainy outside or not, it’s great to have a one pot meal that is delicious, nourishing, and comforting. This is one of our favorites.