A few days back my aunt and I were chatting about how we miss the food from home and our conversation darted off to beef nilaga with salted pork and Chinese spices, my mother’s cooking. I promised her that beef bones will be in our next grocery shopping list.
Nilagang butobuto in Tagalog, is an ingenious way of salvaging beef bones with barely any meat attached to them, and turning them into a hearty meal. I personally prefer them over plain meat as they are cheap yet make for more flavorful soup base. The salted pork and Chinese spices are unique but optional ingredients though they really lend this dish an added flavor.
Fast forward today, I woke up to a bowlful of hearty soup and rice for brunch, courtesy of my aunt. Needless to say, the meal transported me back to my mom’s humble kitchen❤🏠❤.
I usually add green vegetables, tubers like potatoes or taro and corn on the cob. You won’t find them on this dish though because my aunt won’t have them when she cooks this.
2 kgs beef pata or shanks with marrow in (bulalo)
1 slice of salted pork
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 large onion, quartered
1 pc of ginger, sliced
1-2 liters of water for boiling
Chinese spices or tungkoy (if not available, you can use star anise and blackpepper corns, 1 pc and a spoonful respectively )
1/2 cup fish sauce
4 medium potatoes, quartered
Boil beef bones for half an hour. Drain and discard water.
Saute onion, garlic and ginger in a tbsp of oil until wilted.
Add in the preboiled beef bones and pork, water for boiling and spices. Boil covered for 2-3 hours until meat is tender. You may use a pressure cooker and boil the meat for an hour.
Halfway through the cooking, season with fish sauce or salt, whichever you prefer.
Once the meat is tender, add in the potatoes.
You may add the greens a minute before serving and a few sprigs of green onions for garnishing and added flavor.