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Cook Nilagang Baka - Guide, Tips, Easy Slow Boiled Beef Recipes

Updated on November 15, 2016
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John applies his scientific & research skills (PhD) to develop recipes, food guides, reviews of healthy whole foods, ingredients & cooking

Nilagang Baka is a Filipino thin stew or soup dish made by boiling beef, pork, chicken and vegetables over low heat. The term 'Nilagang Baka' literally translates as "Boiled Beef".

Done poorly can be insipid and watery with tough meat or disintegrated chicken.

Like most similar dishes, the keys are slow cooking, the right cuts of meat, and using bones and other ingredients to enhance the flavor of the broth.

Nilagang Baka can be eaten as a soup. It is traditionally poured over boiled rice, which absorbs the broth.

It is served with a variety of vegetables as a main meal or snack dish. Nilagang Baka is an ideal crock pot dish (see recipe below).

This article provides a guide for cooking Nilagang Bakat at home using some fabulous and easy recipes.

Incidentally, a Sydney restaurant owner has recently sold his restaurant to start a take-way delivered meals business based on slow-cooked meals.

Its called 'Hungry Mondays'. To save costs he uses various, local restaurant kitchens, late at night, when they are closed, to slow cook dishes all night and sell them the next day.

After 12-16 hours of slow cooking, various dishes are packages by vacuum sealing in individual serves and hand delivered on ice to various pubs, clubs and other food outlets.

This includes various offices for Monday lunch. It saves on staff and overheads. It uses restaurant facilities after hours at very cheap rates. Better quality food can be sold at greatly reduced prices.

Nilagang Baka would be an ideal dish for this, and you can cook it at home using a slow cooker or simply simmering very slowly in a pot on your stove.

The trick is to develop maximum flavor in the stock, and to make sure the meat is tender and does not fall apart. A good stock pot is ideal for cooking Nilagang Baka.

Tender beef, luscious vegetables all in a tasty thin broth. Slow cooked Nilagang Baka is wonderful as a snack or as a main meal served over a serving of rice.
Tender beef, luscious vegetables all in a tasty thin broth. Slow cooked Nilagang Baka is wonderful as a snack or as a main meal served over a serving of rice. | Source

It Takes Time to Cook Good Nilagang Baka

Nilagang Baka is very easy to cook, but you need to allow adequate time to gently simmer the beef brisket, beef bones, pork bones or other ingredients to intensify the flavor of the stock which is what really defines a good Nilagang Baka:

  • A rich flavourful beef broth or stock produced not by 'magic' stock cubes but by slowly cooking beef bones with the correct spices. By the time you cook an excellent broth, you will have very tender beef. You save nothing by adding stock cubes - but you lose a lot of genuine flavor.
  • Melt in your mouth beef or other meat pieces, that are intact. It is important to use stewing beef for flavor such brisket, blade, topside, shank or short ribs.
  • A variety of just cooked vegetables that retain their texture and identity. This may only be achieved by adding the vegetables and hour or so before serving or finishing the cooking. Mushy, unrecognisable and over cooked vegetables are not appetizing.

Nilagang Baka Recipe with Beef and Vegetables

  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cabbage, trimmed and sliced into large pieces that are separated
  • 3 medium-sized washed potatoes with skin on, cut into chunky pieces
  • 20 string beans, trimmed and rinsed
  • 3-4 bunches of petchay (pak choy), trimmed and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoons coarse table salt
  • 7-8 whole black peppercorns
  • 1kg ( 2 lb) Beef Brisket, Blade, Topside or similar stewing beef, cut into large pieces
  • 1kg ( 2 lb) Beef Bones, with marrow inside
  • Sufficient water for the cooking process 

Scrape the ends of the beef bones to get rid of the paste and wash well with cold water. Add the bones to a large heavy pot, just cover with cold water, bring to the boil and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook the bones for about one hour and then remove. Skim the residue from the surface (do this regularly throughout the cooking).

Add the beef brisket to the pot with the onions and peppercorns and simmer gently for about 2 hours. The liquid will reduce to half. Add in the salt and potatoes and simmer with the lid on for 20minutes or so until the potatoes are just cooked, add the cabbage and string beans and cook for a further a 5 minutes by gently simmering with the lid on.

Next add the petchay (pak choy) to the top of the mixture in the pot, replace the lid and switch off the stove. Leave the pot on the stove until the dish is ready to serve. It can be reheated for serving later with steamed rice.

Nilagang Baka Recipe 3 - Using Fish Sauce and Black Pepper Corns

  • 10 black pepper corns
  • 3 tablespoons of cooking oil (grape or rice bran oils have neutral flavors and high smoke points
  • 4 tablespoons of patis (fish sauce)
  • 1 garlic bulb, peeled and finely minced
  • 5 onions, finely diced
  • 1 small cabbage, quartered and separated
  • 1 bunch of Bok choy cut into pieces
  • 8 potatoes sliced into pieces the same size as the beef
  • 1 kilo (2 lb) stewing beef, cut into medium size pieces (Pork or chicken can be used, which will take less time to cook).
  • About one litre (1 quart) of Water
  • Salt, herbs, spices to taste

Fry the garlic and onions in a small amount of oil in a heavy pot or casserole. Add the beef, black pepper, patis and water to just cover the meat. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and gently simmer for about an hour. Test for doneness. The beef should be just starting to get tender. Add the potatoes and simmer for about 30 minutes until potatoes are just about cooked. Add the cabbage and bok choy and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve the Nilagang Baka steaming hot in a bowl with plain white rice.

Crockpot Nilagang Baka Recipe

  • 2 large potatoes, cut into medium sizes cubes
  • 2 cups of beef broth (prepared by boiling beef bones)
  • Finely chopped piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 2 pieces beef shin, with the bones
  • Fish sauce, salt and pepper to taste


  • 20 string beans (chopped in half)
  • 1/2 head small cabbage, leaves separated and sliced

Combine all the ingredients, apart from the vegetables in a 4-quart slow cooker and add water to about 3/4 full. Set the slow cooker on the lowest heat. Set the timer for 6-8 hours. Add the string beans and cabbage for the last hour of cooking. Season with fish sauce, salt and pepper to taste.

© 2012 Dr. John Anderson


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  • peachpurple profile image

    peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    wow, sure is juicy from the pic. I wish there is a filipino restaurant around here

  • profile image

    johnras 4 years ago

    I had the chance to try this recipe during my visit to Philippines, it was so tasty!