Beef kaldereta or kalderetang baka in Tagalog is arguably one of the most popular tomato-based stews in the country, along with kare-kare and menudo.
Beef Kaldereta Recipe Introduction
This classic Filipino dish is a staple in Filipino kitchens. Not one family cooks it the same, though. There is always something different in every beef kaldereta I have ever had. The delicious, melt-in-your-mouth beef is something I crave and make all the time in the winter.
What is Caldereta / Kaldereta?
Beef Caldereta / Kaldereta is one of the most craved Filipino beef stew recipes in almost every home. It's a hearty, filling Filipino food made with beef as the main ingredient, carrots, liver spread, and bell peppers stewed in a tomato-based sauce.
The majority of Filipino cuisine actually came from Spanish influences, and beef kaldereta is no different. The word kaldereta is derived from the Spanish word caldera, which means cauldron. The classic Filipino stew is similar to meat stews from the Iberian Peninsula and was brought to the Philippines by the Spaniards during colonization.
Beef Kaldereta is usually served on special occasions. But I do not follow this. I eat it when I crave it, which is during really cold months in winter. It's simply a comfort food for my family and me.
Traditionally, people use goat meat or chevon. But nowadays, pork, chicken, and beef are often used as they're more widely available.
What part of beef is best for caldereta?
You can use various cuts of beef you want. For me, I use whatever is on sale at my local grocery store.
In this beef kaldereta recipe, I am using beef shanks and oxtail. These cuts are delicious, tender, and full of collagen, which has so many benefits. Collagen is good for the skin and hair. Also, the long cooking time will make the meat fall off the bone and become incredibly tender.
Beef Kaldereta Ingredients
- Beef - I use beef shanks and oxtail. These cuts are delicious and tender, but check out the substations section of this post for alternatives.
- Onion, ginger, and garlic - My holy trinity of aromatics!
- Carrots & red bell peppers - This helps make the stew a complete meal.
- Tomato Sauce (398 mL) - I like Hunt's brand. If you cannot find this sauce, use tomato paste and add 1 cup of water (or beef broth) to the pot.
- Green Peas - Optional, but highly recommended. It gives the dish this bright color that you will absolutely love.
- Red wine - Optional, but highly recommended!
- Fish sauce- If you don't like fish sauce, use soy sauce.
- Liver paste - Brings a unique, bold flavor that enriches the sauce. You can use liver spread or liver pate.
- Jalapeno - Optional, but highly recommended!
- Bay leaves
- Green olives
- Red pepper flakes or bird's eye chili for more spice
How to cook Kaldereta in the Instant Pot (pressure cooker)
My recipe card below has instructions to make this dish in a large Dutch oven. Here is my step-by-step guide on how to cook it in an Instant Pot.
- Brown the beef on all sides. Don't overcrowd and do it in batches. Remove, set aside, and discard the excess oil.
- Add tomato sauce, ginger, onion, garlic, water, red wine, fish sauce, liver spread, jalapeno, bay leaves, salt, and pepper (i.e., everything except the carrots, peppers, and green peas).
- Seal the pressure cooker. Set it on manual for 40 minutes.
- Let it come to a natural release.
- Skim the top for the fat. Put it on saute mode and add the carrots and peppers.
- Add the peas at the very end as it cooks in as fast as 20 seconds.
- Adjust the seasoning. Put more salt and pepper if needed.
Beef Kaldereta Step-By-Step Images
Beef Kaldereta Substitutions & Variations
Meat Variations: While traditional Beef Kaldereta uses beef shanks or oxtail, feel free to use other cuts of beef stew meat such as beef chucks, beef brisket, or stew meat for a tender, fork-tender result. For a different twist, goat meat is a traditional alternative. Chicken or pork can also be used for a lighter version.
Tomato Base: The rich tomato-based sauce is a key component of this dish. If tomato sauce isn't available, tomato paste mixed with water is a great substitute to achieve that deep, rich flavor. Adding beef broth can also enhance the savory depth of the stew.
Vegetables: You can also incorporate green beans, potatoes, or olives for additional textures and flavors. Chopped chili peppers or red pepper flakes can be added for extra heat.
Seasoning and Flavorings: Liver spread or liver pate enriches the kaldereta with its distinctive flavor. If you're not a fan, peanut butter can be a surprising yet delicious alternative. For those sensitive to fish sauce, soy sauce serves as a fine substitute, adjusting the saltiness and umami to your liking.
Cooking Method: While traditionally slowly simmered in a pot, an Instant Pot or slow cooker can be a convenient alternative for those seeking to reduce cooking time or prefer a set-and-forget method. To cook Beef Kaldereta in a slow cooker, set it on low heat for 8 to 10 hours or on high heat for 4 to 5 hours. You'll know the Beef Kaldereta is cooked completely when the meat is easily fork-tender, and the sauce has thickened to a rich consistency.
Garnish and Extras: Sprinkle grated cheese before serving to add a creamy texture and a hint of saltiness, enhancing the dish's rich flavors without overshadowing them.
Tips for cooking Beef Kaldereta
Browning is Key: Don’t rush the browning process of your beef. This step is crucial for developing deep, complex flavors. Take your time to sear the meat until it’s beautifully caramelized. Remember, color equals flavor, and this foundational step sets the stage for the entire dish.
Low and Slow: Whether you're simmering on the stove or using a slow cooker, patience pays off. Cooking your Kaldereta on a low, gentle heat allows the beef to become tender and succulent, absorbing all the rich flavors of the sauce.
Layer Your Flavors: Start with sautéing your holy trinity of aromatics – onion, ginger, and garlic – until they’re soft and golden. This not only creates a fragrant base but also builds layers of flavor that will permeate through the entire dish.
The Right Cut: Opt for beef cuts with a bit of fat and connective tissue, like shanks or brisket. As they slowly cook, these cuts become incredibly tender and enrich the stew with a silky, luxurious texture.
What is a substitute for liver spread in caldereta?
If liver spread isn't available, or to your taste, you can use liver pate or even peanut butter as a substitute. Both alternatives provide the richness and depth of flavor that liver spread contributes to the dish.
How do you thicken caldereta sauce?
To thicken the sauce, you can simmer the stew uncovered to reduce the liquid, mash some of the vegetables like potatoes and stir them back in, or mix a small amount of cornstarch or flour with water to create a slurry and add it to the stew, stirring well until the desired consistency is reached.
Can I use beef broth instead of water?
Yes, if you have beef broth, you can use that instead of water.
Filipino Beef Caldereta Recipe Conclusion
Wrapping up our Beef Kaldereta post, I hope this recipe becomes a staple in your kitchen as it is in mine. With its tender beef, rich tomato sauce, and the perfect blend of spices and vegetables, it's a hearty dish sure to satisfy. Don't forget, the best part about cooking is making it your own, so whether you stick to the traditional ingredients or mix in a few twists of your own, Kaldereta is all about the love and warmth it brings to the table. Happy cooking and I can't wait to hear how your beef kaldereta turns out!Print
2 lbs beef shanks (2 pieces of beef shank)
2 lbs of ox tail
1 medium onion
8 garlic cloves
1-2 large carrots
1-2 bell peppers
1 can tomato sauce (398 mL)
1 cup of water
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup of red wine (optional, highly recommended)
¼ cup fish sauce
1 jalapeno (optional, highly recommended)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
- In a large Dutch oven, brown your beef pieces in batches. Do not overcrowd.
- Remove and set aside. Discard the excess oil.
- Add all the ingredients except carrots, bell peppers, and green peas.
- Let it come to a boil. Reduce the temperature to a low simmer. Cover with lid.
- Let it simmer for 1 hour, and check to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom from time to time.
- When the beef is fork tender, skim some of the oil from the top.
- Add carrots and bell peppers. Let it cook for 15 minutes.
- In the last 2 minutes, add in your green peas. Adjust seasoning and salt and pepper accordingly.
- Serve this with white rice.
*Instant Pot - pressure cooker instructions are listed above.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Category: mains
- Method: braising, instant pot
- Cuisine: filipino