"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Beef Mechado

Beef Mechado on  bed of rice
What's the differece between beef mechado and kaldereta? Different people have tried to describe the two. I have my own, too, but first, the similarities: beef chunks (or roast), garlic, onions, bell peppers, tomato sauce, bay leaves, peppercorn, potatoes, carrots.

Now for the differences:
Kaldereta - add liver paste or sausage (or if I had it, Reno liver spread), and cheese. Other optional add ons usually include black olives.

Mechado - add soy sauce and vinegar (others use only soy sauce), and snap beens (aka Baguio beans) (plus I added celery here)

The two definitely differ in taste, but both are awesome! And hubby likes 'em both! They are very American-friendly Filipino dishes, and my kids love bringing them to school for lunch, though they never care to learn what they are called aside from "beef stew."

2 lbs stew meat (beef cut in chunks)
3 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup diced bell peppers (green and red)
1/4 cup soy sauce (I actually used 2 tbsp of Tamari soy sauce and then regular soy sauce to make up 1/4 cup total)
1/4 cup (red wine) vinegar
2 bay leaves
10 peppercorns (appoximate)
salt to taste (I used about 1 tsp kosher)
1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
1 big or 3 small potatoes, cubed
1 big carrot, cubed (I did not have any at the time)
2 cups snap beans

I made use of pressure cooker for this, since I wanted to be able to cook this up quickly in time for supper. We were busy during the earlier part of the day working out in the garden.

Heat the pressure cooker empty on medium high for about 3 minutes. Add oil, saute the garlic, onions, celery, and bell peppers. Add the beef, and saute until brown. This will results to beef sweating and will put out about 1/2 cup of liquid. Sprinkle salt and stir. Add the tomato sauce, vinegar and soy sauce. Stir and close the lid. Pressure-cook as directed by your manufacturer for 15 minutes (starting to count the minutes once the pressure valve pops up; don't forget to switch to low heat enough to maintain a steady gentle steam coming out of the lid). Meanwhile, cut the potatoes and carrots into cubes. Microwave for about 2-3 minutes to partially cook. Once 15 minutes are up, add the potatoes and carrots and stir. Close the lid tightly (do not set to pressure cook; just keep tight) and cook for 3 minutes; add snap beans, stir, cover tight again and turn off heat. By the end of this cooking, the sauce has thickened enough, thanks to potatoes and all the flavors have blended wonderfully. Serve as topping for fried rice (if you are Pinoy) or with bread/biscuit (if you are a Westerner). I served it with biscuit to hubby (quick enough to prepare compared to bread).

(Cooking style will vary with regular pot. You may have to add water to prevent drying up. Of course, cooking time for beef will also vary and may reach 45 minutes to an hour to cook this cut until tender. You, the cook, will just have to grope your way into cooking the rest of the ingredients. Potatoes and carrots added together will probably take 15 minutes (or you may add the carrots 5 minutes later), then snap beans will require 2 minutes or so depending on how cooked you want it.)


  1. Hello Manang,
    Thanks for this recipe. I cooked this today for dinner and it was very yummy! My husband (who is an American too) said at least twice that it's very tasty and hearty. I guess I would have to cook it again :)

  2. Hi liza,
    Us too!

    Hi Che,
    Glad you and your husband liked it!

  3. Hello Manang,

    Medyo naasiman ako sa 1/4 cup vinegar kaya next time mas konti ang ihahalo ko. But aside from that, this mechado (another first for me!) recipe is very very good. Yum-yum!

  4. Hi Mitzi,
    hmmmm...that was not supposed to be maasim, just like how adobo should not be maasim despite the vinegar in the ingredients. Did you stir/mix during the early part of cooking? After you put in the vinegar and other ingredients then stirred, it should have been left undisturbed while cooking for at least 15 minutes in the pressure cooker. Disturbing it within 5 minutes will leave the vinegar sorta "uncooked." Plus, 1/4 cup vinegar is not that much (even for adobo).
    Try to recall whether that was what you did.

  5. Hello Manang,

    I did not use a pressure cooker. I might have stirred quite a bit during the early part of cooking:( and then I doubled the ingredients because I had wanted to use the last of my beef roast in the freezer. I had 3.98 lbs beef roast. Do you think my using a particular brand of tomato sauce (Hunts) contributed to the sourness of the dish? I also remember using store brand white vinegar instead of red wine vinegar in your recipe.

    Despite of it, nagbaon pa rin ng mechado ang asawa (Pinoy) ko. My 3 year old son would tell me, Mom don't give up (ha-ha!). I will try this again next week.

  6. Start with Beef Broth for that "boney" flavor and a little beef bullion realy adds to this dish.

  7. Hi Anonymous,
    Thanks for those tips!


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