Bulalo is a beef dish in the Philippines characterized by boiling beef shanks with the marrow still inside the bone into a clear broth for a prolonged time until the fat and collagen melts and mixes with the soup.
Where this dish originated varies depending on who you ask but the most popular answer is it’s a native dish of Southern Luzon, specifically in Batangas, where cattle- raising is a huge industry. Bulalo is so popular that people in the rest of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao also know how to cook it and probably have their own versions too!
Bulalo is best served when the beef have tenderized and the soup is still hot. It’s very delicious and filling to eat with rice but watch out friends! It’s also a very flavorful dish and the soup is rich with cholesterol. Bear in mind that moderation is the key when eating Bulalo.
In the Philippines, ordering Bulalo in restaurants might come with a pricey bill since the meat used for this dish is also one of the most costly parts of the cow. If you like to taste this classic Filipino favorite but you are neither going back to the Philippines anytime soon nor could you find a restaurant serving Bulalo in you city or would not like to spend so much allow me to teach you how to prepare your very own Bulalo instead!
1 kg of beef shanks
1 bundle of pechay (often called bok choy, pak-choi in foreign shops), with leaves individually detached
2 pieces of corn in a cob, halves
3 medium potatoes, quartered
1 medium-sized onion, quartered
4 cloves of crushed garlic
1 tablespoon of whole peppercorns
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
8 to 10 cups of water
Salt to season
Place the beef shanks in a pressure cooker and add the water, onion, garlic, and peppercorns. Bring the water to a boil while skimming off scum that rises.
Don’t forget to include both bone and marrow for a perfect Bulalo!
Once the water is boiling, pour in the fish sauce, lower the stove’s heat and put the lid of the pot on. I like the meat of my Bulalo to be fork- tender and I achieve that by pressure- cooking it for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of your beef shanks. Alternatively, you can cook Bulalo in a big pot if there’s no pressure cooker available. Just take note that you need to boil the meat an hour longer.
Remember that the broth will be more flavorful the longer you simmer. So if you want to have a very savory Bulalo, you can always prolong the boiling process.
Once the 30 to 45 minutes is up, add the corns and potatoes and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.
Leave the pechay for last. Simmer it for three more minutes before finally seasoning the Bulalo with salt.
Once you’re done cooking, put the Bulalo in a big serving bowl. Scoop out the vegetables and arrange them around the beef shanks before pouring the delicious broth over.
Serve it right away and enjoy!
Tita Kathy’s tip:
Have a calamansi or lemon ready for seasoning when you’re ready to eat the Bulalo. The calamansi juice goes great with the soup!
Although this is a soup dish, Bulalo is versatile and still perfect for the warm weather. Take for example how much popular Bulalo is in the Philippines despite it being a tropical country!
This dish is one of my favorite soup recipes to prepare for my family even if it takes a while to cook. What’s your favorite soup recipe? Share it with us on the comment box below!