Beef Nilaga

Nilagang Baka

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what is there to say about nilagang baka or boiled beef? it’s a very simple dish that one misses when the weather is cold. still summer here in Beijing but what the heck? it’s like summer all year round back home anyways & we still love it (ofcourse the typhoons are always there).speaking of typhoons, let’s all save a prayer for Katrina. also, watch out for lasang pinoy 2 – cooking up a storm. i still am totally clueless on what to blog about & in the midst of reminiscing memorable rainy (lonely) days. i invited a friend of mine the minute i received an invitation to it & he came up right away w/ an entry on that day! he even hav a 2nd entry the next day but i wouldn’t post it here till the day of the event…

1/2 kilo beef (parts w/ fat & gatil)
1 medium onion (cut into halves)
1/2 head of garlic (minced)
salt and peppercorns
2 medium potatoes (cut into cubes about the same size of beef)
a bunch of petchay (or pe-tsai, a type of chinese cabbage)
2 tbsp patis or fish sauce (thai brand in my case, available here)

in a frying pan, fry the garlic until golden brown. drain & set aside.

boil the beef in a separate pot. few tips w/ regards to boiling the beef are: (1) use rice broth (water used in washing your rice), (2) get rid of the mushy brownish stuff that floats once the water boils, and (3) add the salt, peppercorns, fish sauce & onions (MSG is optional) only when the beef is almost tender. you will know that the gatil (it’s the white thing, maybe called cartilage, that is like rubber if not cooked properly) is tender when you can cut it w/ fork.

add the potatoes and simmer until cooked. add in the pechay & cover the pot. bring to boil. serve hot in a bowl w/ the fried garlic sprinkled on top of it. u may hav some sawsawan (or dip) for the beef if u wish & the best wud b soy sauce or patis w/ calamansi. the fried garlic as topping is not part of the traditional recipe. i found out that adding this gives a unique flavor similar to the malay food sup tulang (beef bone stew).

I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that does harm to my wit. – William Shakespeare

Photo updates with green beens:

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

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