Sunday, May 6, 2012

Beef Bones, More Fun in the Philippines

Nilagang Bulalo

Consider this my contribution to the country's latest tourism campaign.. While I would find myself often grounded and holed up in my room this hot summer, everybody I know seems to be traveling, either domestically or internationally. I could not honestly say that I am envious of my jetsetting friends. I am deathly afraid of plane rides and my last trip by boat made me pray like I have never prayed before. I also do not like taking pictures of myself like a tourist would, which is kind of an antithetical aversion if you think about it because I suppose if you are going on vacation, taking pictures of yourself is a big part of the whole shebang.

But I do enjoy the stories that my friends would share about their travels. I pride myself with having a remarkably vivid imagination and when I listen to these stories, I feel like I was actually there, in that same place and time, saying and hearing the same words, and experiencing the exact same thing. Sometimes, I even remember some of these stories out of the blue, like they were my own memories. One particular story came to mind when I was making lunch today, that of my friend in a meat market in Libya. She said that during one of their trips to the market, she and her friends noticed good bulalo being set aside in a bucket my the meat vendor. Thinking of making Nilagang Bulalo, they asked the meat vendor for the price. Perhaps perplexed that anybody would actually want to buy beef bones, the meat vendor gave them the crucial ingredient for their Nilagang Bulalo for free. Chalk it up for the adage, "One man's junk is another man's treasure".

Nilagang Bulalo

8 cups water
1 beef bouillon
2 kilos bulalo bone, with marrow and meat
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, with leaves, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
1/2 cabbage, chopped
1/4 Baguio lettuce or pechay
2 stalks kinchay, chopped

2 tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
juice squeezed from one calamansi

In a pressure cooker, bring water to a boil and stir in beef bouillon until dissolved. Add bulalo. Cover and seal pressure cooker until it sizzles. Let pressure cooker sizzle for 30 minutes. (If you do not have a pressure cooker, boil in a conventional pot for about 2 hours or until meat is tender.)
Turn off heat and take out beef and chop into 2 inch pieces. Skim off oil from the broth. (Or if you have time to spare, you can let the broth cool at room temperature or in the ref until beef fat rises to the surface and solidifies. Discard solidified beef fat.)
Bring beef broth into a boil and return the beef. Add the onions, celery, and potatoes and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Add cabbage and simmer for 5 minutes. Add Baguio lettuce and kinchay and simmer for 3 minutes.
Serve with patis (fish sauce) with calamansi for seasoning and dipping.

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