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24 June 2013

Nilagang baka (beef stew)


I am simply amazed at how my Nanay and my Ate cook.  It's like they just chop and toss stuff into the pot or pan, give it a good mix, and out comes a wonderful dish.  Take this nilagang baka, for example.  My Nanay must have seen the odd look on my face when I saw her dump the potatoes along with the beef.  "Hindi malalamog yang patatas (the potatoes will not turn into mash)", she said before I could ask.  And sure enough, the potatoes were perfectly cooked.  Amazing.

There's something about nilaga that's very comforting.  I guess the mere ritual of sipping hot soup makes us feel all nice and warm inside, especially on a cold and rainy day.  I love my nilagang baka with a soy sauce and calamansi (and a little chilli) dip.

Ingredients:
1 kg beef, chopped into bit-size pieces and washed
4-5 medium potatoes, halved
1 medium onion
1 head garlic
a bunch of pechay
water
1 sachet black peppercorns
salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:
place the beef pieces, the potatoes, black peppercorns, garlic and onion in a thick-bottomed pot.  Sprinkle some salt and pepper.  Don't worry about the amount, you will have the opportunity to adjust the flavour later.  That said, don't go all out with the salt and pepper!

Pour a lot of water, enough for the beef and the other ingredients to swim happily around.  Cover and let boil over medium heat for an hour or until the beef is tender.

Adjust the taste with salt and pepper, then add the pechay leaves.  Cover and remove from heat.  The pechay will cook in the hot soup in a minute.

Serve hot with rice.  Perfect for a rainy day.