Beef Caldereta or kalderetang baka is known everywhere all over the country. Whenever the topic of Filipino cuisine is brought up, there’s no doubt that this super tasty dish comes to mind for most people.
It can be served on the most special occasions, or it can even be served on a normal day, just celebrating and being grateful for the family.
If you’re looking to treat your loved ones something special and deliciously familiar, this recipe will be able to help you! Our mission here is to give you tips on your exciting journey of cooking the famous kalderetang baka and we’ll make sure you won’t get disappointed so be sure to continue to read on below.
What is Beef Caldereta?
When you hear the words beef caldereta–imagine sliced beef cubes enveloped in yummy and thick sauce made of tomatoes and liver spread, partnered with potatoes, bell peppers, carrots, olives, and a couple of other spices.
That’s exactly what it is. Just hearing those words will surely bring you a mouthwatering experience.
The word caldereta has a Spanish origin which essentially means cauldron, or kaldero in Filipino. This is a type of pot where food is cooked. Although this dish is mainly Filipino-made, it has some Spanish influences, hence why it’s called caldereta.
It is quite confusing to some people because caldereta is very similar to mechado and afritada. But the main difference in caldereta is the use of liver spread, and cheese.
Versions of Caldereta
Traditionally, goat meat is used in cooking this dish. But since beef is easier to find nowadays and is generally cheaper, this one is what this recipe’s going to be using. Other versions of caldereta are also acceptable, such as chicken and pork.
So let’s learn how to cook it!
How to cook Beef Caldereta?
Cooking this beef caldereta is not overwhelming at all. It’s a straightforward, step-by-step process. All you have to do is to prepare your cooking pot and the ingredients and add them to the pot one after the other.
First thing we’re going to do is to cook the carrots and potatoes first. Once their color turns a bit light brown, you can set them aside in the meantime. Then saute the garlic and onions, and proceed to add the beef. Let it cook for a couple of minutes and then put in your spices.
Afterwards, you’re going to add the tomato sauce and the broth. The beef has to be tender to be able to enjoy this dish fully, so it will take quite some time when cooking this.
Once you know that the beef is tender, the dish is almost done. Toss back the carrots and potatoes into the pot. And for the final touches, add the liver spread and cheese. And as simple as that, it’s done!
Cooking the beef until it’s tender can take up to as long as two hours, so if you have a pressure cooker available around you. You can use it and it will only take 30 minutes to cook.
What cuts of beef in Caldereta is recommended?
There are beef stew cuts available in the market but if you have the time, it is preferred to cut the beef yourself as some ready made cuts tend to cook the meat in the wrong way.
For the cuts, you’re going to focus on making lean ones. And if you think the cuts you made are a bit tough, it’s actually the best choice, since we’re going to slow cook the beef anyway. The toughness will become tender and the meat will be more flavorful.
Caldereta vs. Menudo vs. Afritada vs. Mechado
Caldereta is commonly confused with Filipino stews which also utilizes tomato-based sauce. To be fair, it is to be expected because the four of these are almost similar in every way, except for a number of ingredients, which often gets jumbled with one another.
Caldereta is made with beef (with bones) or goat meat, which utilizes liver spread, carrots, potatoes, and bell peppers along its tomato based sauce.
Menudo is made usually with pork partnered with pork liver, hotdogs, carrots, potatoes, bay leaves, with some raisins along with the sauce.
Afritada is traditionally cooked using chicken meat, and one thing I believe is that afritada is made to be creamier than the other tomato-based stews. It’s basic vegetables include bell peppers, carrots, potatoes, and peas.
Mechado is traditionally and commonly made with beef and pork fat, and you usually go for a tangier flavor when it comes to cooking these. It also includes the basic carrots, potatoes, and bell pepper, together with the tomato sauce blended with soy sauce.
Notes On Ingredients
Tomato sauce is the one we’re going to use in this recipe. But if you feel like it, you can also change it up and use some fresh tomatoes or diced tomatoes.
Cheese is a common add-on here but this one is mainly a preference, so you can opt to remove that from your ingredients.
Some vegetables, such as green olives, would also be a great idea to add in.
For a quick reference about this recipe, see the recipe table below:
Beef Caldereta Recipe
- Cooking Pot
- Pressure Cooker (Optional)
- 1 kg beef short ribs or brisket, cut into cubes
- 2 pcs large-sized Potatoes, cut into cubes
- 2 pcs large-sized Carrots, cut into cubes
- 1 pc small-sized Red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 pc small-sized Green bell pepper, sliced
- ½ cup Green olives
- 1 pc Onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves Garlic, crushed and chopped
- 2-3 pcs dried Bay/ Laurel Leaves
- 1-3 pcs Bird’s Eye Chili (Siling Labuyo), sliced
- 1 cup Tomato sauce
- ½ cup Liver spread
- 2 cups beef broth/ stock, or water
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cheddar cheese, (optional)
- 2-3 tbsp cooking oil
- Pour-in the cooking oil in a cooking pot and apply medium heat.
- Add-in the carrots and potatoes and cook until lightly browned. Set aside.
- Add-in the onions and garlic and cook until softened.
- Add-in the beef and cook, while stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
- Add-in the bay leaves and chilis and stir.
- Add-in the tomato sauce and beef broth and bring to a boil. Remove the scum that floats on top.
- Lower the heat and cook for 1 to 2 hours or until the beef is tender.
- Add back the carrots and potatoes and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender.
- Add-in liver spread and cheese then stir to combine. Continue to cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is thickened.
- Add-in the bell peppers and green olives and cook for another 2 to 4 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer to a serving plate and enjoy!