Braising is a very common cooking technique used in the Philippines. It is usually done with tough cuts of beef. Special beef dishes, like morcon and caldereta are usually reserved for special occasions or for Sundays. Since beef costs more, being able to make the best out of the cheaper beef cuts is a great way to extend the budget and add variety to the weekly menu.
Nilagang Baka is beef braised until the meat reaches the desired tenderness. Most cooks would stop braising the beef once it’s tender enough to slice and chew. Others (like this cook) prefer to continue braising until the meat starts to fall off the bone. Vegetables and seasonings are then added.
For the health conscious you may opt to skim the resulting fat that floats to the surface of the broth. Some cooks will let the broth cool and store it in fridge overnight so that the fat solidifies and becomes easier to separate.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 3 – 4 hours
Good for: 2 – 3 people
In a thick pot, place beef shanks and pour enough water to cover the pieces.
Add 1 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1 teaspoon salt.
Set stove to lowest setting and let the pot simmer for at least 2 hours. The water should be boiling gently. Cover pot and add more water as needed.
Braise beef until the meat and ligaments are tender and fall off the bone.
Once beef is tender you may set it aside to skim of excess fat from the broth. This is an optional step.
Add fish sauce and additional pepper to taste.
Add onions, garlic, potatoes and green beans to simmering pot.
Simmer until potatoes are cooked.
Turn off heat and add sliced cabbage. Replace lid and cover for 2 minutes.
Serve in Nilagang Baka with sliced calamansi or lemon and fish sauce on the side.