Food Corner: Popular Filipino Food 06
Nilagang Baka/ Filipino-style Beef Soup with Veggies
In the Philippines, the rainy season has started. The intermittent rain hinders us from going outside unlike on ordinary days. And to compensate the long hours indoors, we tend to rely on something that can give comfort, and for me, it’s food. I always rely on food when I feel a bit upset. No wonder it’s called comfort food. But unlike many people, i am not so much into sweets nor chocolates. This season,for me, is the best for stews and soups to warm the stomach. And of course, I prefer meat and a lot of veggies. Rather than going out or talking to someone, food is a much better companion. It makes you feel better without the judgment.
So for today’s dish, let me teach you how to make a soup dish Filipino-style. You might be surprised that it isn’t as different as you may have been doing. Or maybe, the dish is similar but you only call it differently.
‘Nilaga’ literally means boiled. So from the term itself, the dish for today is cooked by boiling for a long time then adding the ingredients later. Pork and beef are usually used for the stock. And for us, we usually add the bonier, less lean and sinewy cuts such as the ribs and neck bones. For gelatinous and full-bodied broth, we use meat high in connective tissues such as beef shank and tendon. And again, the secret of making hearty soup is the long hours of simmering to bring out the flavors. So it is recommended to cook this when you have to spend long hours at home and have enough preparation.
The distinct ingredient of the nilaga is the corn. There are a lot of stews but only this dish has this item. So if you are wondering what kind of stew is served to you, once you see corn, then it’s nilaga. Should you wish to use pork instead of beef, feel free to do so.
Filipino-style Beef Soup with Veggies
- 2 pounds beef shanks, bone-in
- 1 pound beef tendons
- 8 cups water
- 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 corn, husked and cut into halves
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 small cabbage, cut into wedges
- 12 green beans, ends trimmed
- salt to taste
- green onions, optional
- In a pot, combine beef shanks, beef tendon, and water. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, removing scum that floats on top.
- Once the broth is free of froth, add onions, peppercorns, and fish sauce. If no fish sauce is available, use salt.
- Lower heat, cover and cook at no more than a simmer for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until shanks are tender and tendons are soft. Add more water as needed during cooking to maintain about 6 to 7 cups.
- Add corn and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes or until almost tender.
- Add green beans and cabbage and cook for another 2 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender yet crisp.
- Season with salt to taste. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with chopped green onions, if desired. Serve hot.