A bowl of hot, meaty beef bulalo is a Filipino comfort food, particularly good on a cold, rainy day spent at home.
Try this recipe by Chef Jerry Montenegro Cruz, who has cooked for VIPs like Hillary Clinton and the Prince of Brunei. According to Cruz, you need to boil the meat for at least two hours. Three to four hours is best. "Make sure to include the bones. That's where all the flavor is. Also add herbs - rosemary or thyme - to the meat while it's boiling," he said.
Cruz suggests buying the beef from local vendors. "Local meat is tougher than imported meat. Imported meat is too soft. If you boil it for that long, it will get mushy," he explained.
If you want a benchmark for what makes great bulalo, Cruz suggest trying out The Mahogany Market in Tagaytay, where you can get a bowl of bulalo for P350 (about US $7.5), good for three to four people.
1 kilo beef shank with bone marrow
2 pieces white onions
1 sliced red onion
1 piece ginger
1 tsp. Peppercorn
½ cup cornstarch
¼ kilo bokchoy
¼ kilo Baguio beans
2 pieces of fried cubed potatoes
2 pieces of corn on the cob
Slice onion into rings and mix in cornstarch batter. Deep fry until golden brown. Next, fry potatoes until golden brown and set aside. Slow boil beef shanks in a stock pot together with onion, ginger, bay leaf, and peppercorn for at least two hours. Take off the foam that rises from the broth. Once the meat is tender, add the corn and Baguio beans. Season with salt then add bokchoy. Remove from the heat and serve hot with fried potatoes and topped with crispy white onions.
About Jerry Montenegro Cruz
Chef Jerry Montenegro Cruz has over 13 years of experience as chef of hotel restaurants here and abroad. He currently works as executive chef of Quest Hotels Conference Center in Cebu. Prior to this, he was head chef of Diamond Hotel in Manila, executive chef of Misibis Bay in Albay, chef de cuisine at Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16, and was overall in charge of Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila’s a la carte kitchen.