If you haven’t been able to tell by now, I’m Filipino-Canadian. I was born in the Philippines but lived out my childhood in Dubai, U.A.E. before moving to Toronto, Canada in 1996. I take much pride in being Canadian and when found in another country, I will always say I’m Canadian first. However, I grew up on Filipino values and traditions. I respect and appreciate everything my heritage has to offer.
My childhood was complete with singing along with the karaoke machine and pretending I’ll make it big one day by singing (shout out to GWA). As well as long road trips with containers of food. You haven’t lived a true Filipino life without the endless fam jams which always means an abundance of Filipino delights such as pancit, lechon, sweet spaghetti, lumpia, chicken adobo just to name a few.
Even though I spent most of my life in Canada and have been exposed to so many different cultures, cuisines and traditions, nothing beats my love for Filipino food. Funny enough, we didn’t grow up on eating a lot of it so I am not sure where my obsession stems from. Especially now that I no longer live with my parents, I have no constant source of Filipino goodies.
I can’t really describe what I love so much about our cuisine yet I can describe the feeling I get when I eat it. Food taste better to me when it can trigger a distant memory or a familiar sensation. That is what Filipino food does to me. It reminds me of a time when I felt comfort. It takes me back to happy childhood and unforgettable memories of when my extended family friends would come over for a large meal and after dinner, the kids would sneak away from our parents to go watch a scary film on our own.
Beef Nilaga is a dish that often takes me to that safe place in my childhood. Beef Nilaga was a staple in the house. My parents would often make this for us since it was one of the only dishes both my siblings and I really enjoyed. The star of Beef Nilaga is the beef bone broth that is slow cooked to perfection. The broth offer soothing aid to any sickness or body aches. The spice from the ginger hits the throat and disinfects any foul germs threatening to turn into a sickness. The beef’s marrow melts into the liquid offering its nutrients into the body while the succulent fall off the bone meat and tender vegetables provides substance to the dish.
I really enjoyed making Beef Nilaga because it was such an effortless dish yet produced so much flavour and sustenance. I urge anyone who haven’t tried Filipino food to give this dish a shot. Anyone will tell you the best dish we Filipinos can offer is the Chicken Adobo but I can confidently say we have so much more to offer.
Have you tried Filipino food? What’s your favourite?
Beef Nilaga (Filipino Beef Bone Broth Stew)Print Recipe
- 1 rack of beef ribs (ribs individually chopped/separated)
- 1 large yellow onion (roughly chopped)
- 2 inches ginger root (roughly sliced)
- 2 sticks carrots (roughly chopped)
- 2 corn on the cob (divided into thirds)
- 2 white potatoes (roughly chopped)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp whole black pepper corn
- 2 cups baby bok choy
- 1 to 2 sliced green chilies (optional)
In a large pot, fill with water until there's about 2 inches of space from the top of the pot. Bring the water to a boil
Add beef ribs, onions and ginger. Lower heat to a shimmer
Slow cook for an hour. In the first `15 minutes, try and remove any excess fat or debris that float to the top. This will not taste good in your stew
After an hour, add carrots, corn and potatoes. Slow cook for 45 minutes
Add fish sauce and black pepper corn and let it cook for another 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to your taste
Add bok choy and cook for 5 more minutes
If you like a spicy broth, add roughly chopped green chilies to the stew
Serve with steam rice and dipping sauce with fish sauce with squeeze of lime or lemon and green chilis