Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kalderetang Baka (Beef Caldereta or Filipino Beef Stew)

As I mentioned in my first post about “Beef Caldereta” or “Kalderetang Baka”, the widely regarded special Filipino dish which earned the moniker Filipino Beef Stew from among the numerous Filipinos abroad is a true favorite of mine. I always see to it that I cook it even at least twice a month to serve to our group who sometimes get fed up with the usual food being prepared by the company-supplied cook. In most of our important occasions, the dish is one of the top meat entrées that we usually prepare and share with friends like during the Filipino Christmas Party we have attended last December 2009.

Like “Adobo” and Filipino Beef Asado, it is among the meat dishes that gained acceptance from the distinct and usually discriminating taste of foreign countries, particularly in the West. Probably its good taste and rather close resemblance to some Spanish dishes well suit it to foreign taste buds. Even our past British colleagues who at first were reluctant to have a bite were totally delighted when they finally ate the dish. It can be truly considered a world-class or highly-rated international dish which has originated from the unique Filipino cuisine.

Among the many variations of the dish created by using different types of meats like goat, lamb or mutton, pork, Philippine water buffalo called carabao, chicken, duck, goose, mallard and other poultry meats, “Kalderetang Kambing” or Goat Meat Caldereta is probably the most popular. Even in this humble food blog, the post pertaining to it is among the most visited ones.

Following the same recipe I have provided in my first post, allow me to once again feature here how I cook my “Beef Caldereta”. As mentioned before, the best cut of beef for the dish is the meat part with some fat and tendons. There is something amazing in the succulent tendon and rich “caldereta” sauce which provides a pleasurable feeling in every bite. But you can use other cuts you like, all-meat or better yet, the one with some bones.

I have about 2 kilos of really fresh beef purchased from the local butcher, cut into serving sizes, washed and thoroughly drained. :-)

The other ingredients needed are as follows: 1 cup tomato sauce, 1 cup sweet style banana catsup, 2 pcs bay leaves (“laurel”), 1/3 cup sweet pickle relish, 2 tbsp white vinegar, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1tsp ground pepper, 1 tsp salt or to taste, 1 whole garlic, peeled and minced, ½ kilo onion, peeled and sliced, ¼ cup cheddar cheese, 2 pcs green chili peppers, julienned, 1 small can liver spread and 1tbsp vegetable oil + 2 tbsp margarine.

In a deep mixing bowl place the drained meat and add the tomato sauce, catsup, bay leaves, pickle relish, salt, ground pepper, vinegar and soy sauce. Stir to evenly mix the meat with the marinade ingredients. Marinating for at least an hour is preferred but if you don’t have the liberty of time just go ahead and cook right away.

In a heavy pan or wok, heat the oil + margarine and fry the garlic followed by the onion. Continue sautéing until onion is translucent. On top of the garlic and onion, carefully add the meat with all the marinade. Put the lid on and let the sauce to boil. As the meat is heated, it will render some liquid and addition of water is not necessary, at the moment.

When the liquid is boiling, give it a few stirs to blend the garlic and onion below with the meat on top. Lower the heat to the lowest setting possible, with the liquid still gurgling. Put the lid back on and simmer the meat really slowly. If the liquid is drying out, you can add hot water or beef broth, one cup at a time. I add water a couple of times before the meat gets tender.

While waiting for the slow process of cooking, prepare your other vegetable ingredients. We need 1 small carrot and 3 pcs potatoes, all peeled and cut into small sizes. If you have pitted green olives use ½ cup as well. About half of one of the potatoes shall be used as thickening agent and will be mashed and mixed with the liver spread and grated cheese later on.

Check the doneness of the meat and the taste of the slowly thickening sauce. Adjust the level of salt and other seasonings. I usually don’t add anything anymore. When the meat is slightly tender, add half of 1 potato.

When the potato is cooked through and soft enough to mash into paste, take it out and put in the remaining potatoes, carrots and chili peppers. Stir to combine.

In a bowl, mash the cooked potato and add in the liver spread and grated cheese. Add about 3 tbsp or more of the sauce from the meat and continue mixing into paste-like consistency.

When the vegetables are cooked and the meat is fork tender, slowly stir in the potato-liver-cheese mix. Add the green olives if using and continue stirring and simmering for some more minutes. At this final stage the thick sauce is very easy to scorn so constant stirring is necessary.

If you are satisfied with the sauce consistency, it’s done. Transfer in a serving bowl and serve with lots of steamed rice. The sauce alone is enough to drive one into eating a lot of rice. In the Philippines, the dish is also considered as a priced bite or “pulutan” over a bottle of favorite drinks. :-)

Once again, I will say that this is really delicious. Give it a try on your next special occasion and impress your guests. It’s not really that hard. c”,)


  1. Thanks for the recipe.. my family loves it..

  2. Thank you so much for your caldereta recipe. It was so good! I cooked it in the pressure cooker then sauteed per your instructions. Thanks again!



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