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Nilaga Recipe – Filipino Beef Stew with Clear Broth


Filipinos tend to eat Nilagang Baka as a soup that you drizzle on top of steamed rice. Some enjoy it as meal on its own, either way it is a hearty dish. To me, what defines a good nilaga is its rich flavorful beef broth, melt-in-your-mouth pieces of meat, and vegetables barely cooked through.

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  • 2-3 lbs beef brisket, cubed or 3 large beef shanks
  • 1-2 potatos, cubed
  • 1 head of bok choy or pechay, trimmed and rinsed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 15-20 string beans, trimmed and rinsed
  • 2 medium sized carrots, chopped crosswise about 2 inches long
  • 1 tbsp whole pepper corns
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce (patis)
  • water to cover



Step 1

Rinse the beef well with cold water and scrape off any fat bits or residue. Place the beef in a large pot and cover with cold water (water level should be just above the bones). Bring to boil and lower the heat so that the liquid is just simmering.

Be diligent in skimming the scum/dirt that rises to the top. Simmer the beef for about 1 hour. Bring to a boil and let it simmer down. Keep skimming the any scum that surfaces.

Add in the peppercorns and onion, simmer for another 2 hours. Liquid will reduce to half. Stir in the fish sauce (patis) After a couple of minutes, take out your beef and place in a separate bowl, slightly covered with cling wrap so they won’t dry out.

Add in the cabbage and potatoes. Fully immerse them in the simmering broth. Cover the pot with the lid and simmer for 5 minutes . Stir in your string beans and cook for a minute or so. Put the lid back on the pot.

Place your petchay (bok choy) on top of the nilaga, cover with lid and turn off the stove. Leave your pot on top of the stove to finish the dish. Once the dish is ready to serve, arrange your nilaga in a large serving bowl. Serve with dipping sauces: patis (fish sauce) and calamansi (key lime) dipping sauce.

Be careful not to over season as the patis (fish sauce) is quite salty.
If you have a pressure cooker you can reduce the cooking time substantially.

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