Rainy Day, Steamy Beef Nilaga
California is known for it’s sunny days and rarely do we get rain and more so, a storm. This week was not one of them. It has been raining for days and the cool wind is blowing. The cold air must have gotten me since I am down with the cough, cold and flu. Rolan knew that a hearty, steamy bowl of Beef Nilaga can cure the flu away. Just a sip of the flavorful broth makes me feel so much better.
Nilaga is one of those timeless recipes that brings back happy memories of my childhood. I loved playing in the rain with my friends. My lola (grandma) never fails to catch me and summons me to come inside the house.
She would have me take a quick shower and sit by our long dinner table with a bowl of Nilaga watching amusingly while I slurp my soup . She said this should keep the cold away and will make me strong and healthy. Until this very day, Nilaga has been one of my comfort meals.
Beef Nilaga is a classic Filipino soup dish that anyone can make. This is the first Filipino soup dish I learned to cook. Nilaga comes from the word “laga” in Filipino, meaning to boil. And this recipe is basically boiling beef and adding vegetables like cabbage, potatoes and string beans into the beef broth. Nilaga can come in different variations. Some cook it using pork and some even add banana to it. Rolan and I are happy with the traditional beef recipe. It is a perfect complement to any fried or grilled dish like fried fish, grilled liempo or just like lola serves it, with beef torta.
The key to cooking Nilaga is the flavor of the beef broth and the tenderness of the meat. This is why it is important to take the time to boil. It brings out the flavor of the beef and makes it tender as well. But for me and Rolan who have limited time in cooking, the use of a pressure cooker comes in very handy. We use it in many of our beef dishes and with this beef nilaga recipe, it cuts the cooking time to at least an hour or two.
Whether you want to boil or pressure cook is a preference. But this Beef Nilaga will surely be a recipe that will always be passed down to many generations.
Keep warm and toasty! Try our hearty, steamy Beef Nilaga!
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, cut into quarters
- 1 ½ lbs beef chuck, cut into 1-2 inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cups of water
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 potato, cut into cubes
- ½ cabbage, cut into wedge
- string beans
- 10 pieces peppercorn
- Boil potatoes and string beans in a pot of water for 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
- In a pressure cooker, sear meat in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once browned, set aside including the juice.
- Using the leftover oil from the seared meat, add 1 more tablespoon oil. Saute garlic and onion for 1 - 2 minutes.
- Add seared meat and mix well.Add 6 cups of water, peppercorn and fish sauce. Mix and wait to boil.
- Once boiling, cover with lid and pressure cook for 40 minutes or until meat is tender.
- Let steam escape before opening pressure cooker lid, add cabbage and continue to boil on low to medium heat until cabbage softens.
- Add potatoes and string beans and boil for another 1- 2 minutes.
- Serve hot in a bowl. Pair with rice and have lemon and fish sauce sawsawan (dipping sauce) ready.