Which dish immediately reminds you of comfort? Something about the familiarity of certain recipes can bring you back to warm memories that you will always cherish. That’s the magic of food – not only does it affect our bodies in a physical sense, but it allows us to get in touch with our emotions by allowing us to…
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Which dish immediately reminds you of comfort? Something about the familiarity of certain recipes can bring you back to warm memories that you will always cherish. That’s the magic of food – it not only affects our body in a physical sense, but allows us to get in touch with our emotions by sharing them with loved ones. Filipino food is ripe with examples of comfort food, be it a filling soup or a hearty and delicious meat. But one dish manages to bring these two together in a perfect and refreshing way. I am of course talking about nothing but delicious Nilaga Beef!
What is Beef Nilaga?
A scalding hot broth and tender chunks of meat make up this comforting and delicious dish. Beef Nilaga is a native Filipino dish that uses succulent and fairly fatty portions of meat that you cook until they’re practically juicy and fall off the bone. Add in your veggies, like crispy green beans and cabbage, and your sweet and chunky chunks of potato, and you have yourself a filling meal that will settle your stomach and soul! The flavor of this dish may be mild, but its effect on you is definitely long-lasting. Beef Nilaga is perfect proof that sometimes less is more!
How do we make this beef Nilaga better?
In common Nilaga beef recipes, we tend to favor diced brisket as our cut of choice. Beef brisket comes from the brisket, or lower brisket, of the beef and is widely used in many slow-cooked and simmered recipes. Today, however, we’re going to use a different part of the cow for our Beef Nilaga: Beef Neck Bone! Unlike brisket, neck bones come from — you guessed it — a cow’s neck. They appear to have less meat than your usual cut at first glance. But if you’ve cooked that portion of beef really tender, every bite will definitely be worth it.
What makes it even better is that the beef neck bone cut is a cheaper alternative to others! Beef Nilaga in itself is a fairly affordable dish, with many common household ingredients and easy-to-buy components from the supermarket. Now that the beef neck bone is used, cooking can become a lot easier!
Nilaga, with its mild flavor and clear broth, has been convicted multiple times across the country. Many are made by altering the protein – some use pork, others use chicken. Meanwhile, others add vegetables like squash to give the dish a more unique and flavorful twist. But that aside, beef Nilaga also has some clear relatives – or maybe just doubles – within Filipino cuisine. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Others see or classify bulalo as a type of beef Nilaga. After all, it shares many similar ingredients and a similarity in its appeal. But what really sets bulalo apart is the specific meat selection that easily becomes the star of the show: indulgent and delicious beef shank. It’s the marrow still in the bones that makes everyone’s mouth water at the sight of Bulalo. This creamy, delicious meat can take a while to cook—about an hour in the slow cooker, sometimes longer. But one bite of it and you’re guaranteed to proclaim that the wait was definitely worth it.
Pocherong Baka or Beef Pochero
Another dish with an almost, but not quite, similar flavor profile is Beef Pochero, another stew that uses beef feed cubes. The unique thing about pochero is the abundance of ingredients that make up this tasty stew. It’s not just the beef that does the heavy lifting — from chorizo de bilbao to tomatoes, chickpeas to plantains, a mix of textures and flavors come alive in this unforgettable sweet, sour and savory broth.
How To Make This Better Beef Nilaga
The first step in this Beef Nilaga recipe is to grill your beef neck bones for 1 ½ minutes per side. After that, take a saucepan and heat 3 tablespoons of cooking oil and sauté your garlic and onions. Once the onions are soft, you can add the neck bones you just grilled and sauté for another 2 minutes.
Next, pour 6 cups of water into the pot and turn the heat down while your Nilaga begins to boil steadily. Cover your pot and allow your meat to continue cooking until it becomes more tender. If you feel it needs more water, feel free to add the same!
Regarding the cooking time of your neck bones, many recommend letting them simmer in the pot for about 2 to 4 hours. The more tender you want your neck bones to be, the longer you’ll need to leave them on the grill. After all, patience is the key when making this beef Nilaga! However, be sure to check your meat at least every half hour; it could be as tender as you want in less time!
When your meat is finally juicy, add a Knorr Beef Cube and your corn on the cob before covering the pot. Cook for about 8 more minutes.
We’re finally on the home stretch! Add your potatoes, then cook them in your stew for about 6 minutes. Next come in your remaining ingredients: long green beans, cabbage, and bok choy. Your Beef Nilaga will only need 3 minutes more, during which time you can season with fish sauce and ground black pepper. If the taste is to your liking, that’s all – you’re done!
Turn off the heat and transfer your beef nilaga to a serving bowl. Serve piping hot with heaping cups of rice and enjoy!
Did you love this better beef Nilaga? Let us know in the comments below!
Did you do this? If you take a picture, please tag us on Instagram at @panlasangpinoy or with the hashtag #panlasangpinoy so we can see your creations!
Better beef Nilaga
Filipino cooked beef soup with bok choy and corn
Grill the beef shoulder bones 11/2 minutes per side. Remove from grill and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil and sauté garlic and onion in it.
Once the onion softens, add the beef. Fry for 2 minutes.
Pour water into the pot. Let it cook. Cover and continue cooking over low heat until the meat is tender. Note: Add more water as needed.
Add Knorr Beef Cube and corn. Cover the pot. Boil 8 minutes.
Add potatoes. Boil 6 minutes.
Add the long green beans, cabbage, and bok choy. Continue cooking for 3 minutes.
Season with fish sauce and ground black pepper.
Pour into a serving bowl. Serve hot. Share and enjoy!
Calories: 820kcal (41%) Carbohydrates: 29G (10%) Protein: 73G (146%) Fat: 47G (72%) Saturated Fatty Acids: 16G (80%) Polyunsaturated fat: 5G Monounsaturated fatty acids: 22G Trans fats: 0.05G Cholesterol: 201mg (67%) Sodium: 649mg (27%) Potassium: 2227mg (64%) Fiber: 7G (28%) Sugar: 12G (13%) Vitamin A: 9792ie (196%) Vitamin C: 147mg (178%) Calcium: 327mg (33%) Iron: 10mg (56%)