Balbacua is a popular Filipino dish that has its roots in Spanish cuisine. The dish is slow-cooked for almost a day, resulting in a rich and flavorful stew that is perfect for any occasion. While it may take some time to prepare, the end result is well worth the effort.
History of Balbacua
The history of balbacua can be traced back to the Spanish colonial period. The dish was originally called “barbacoa,” which means “slow cooking meat on an open fire.” The Spanish colonizers brought the dish to the Philippines and it eventually became a popular meal in the country. Over time, Filipinos put their own spin on the dish by adding local ingredients and cooking methods.
The traditional balbacua recipe requires ox tail, beef brisket, and peanuts. However, ox tail can be quite expensive and difficult to find in some areas. As a substitute, you can use ox skin and beef ribs to simulate the texture and flavor of ox tail. Other ingredients include anise, onion, tumeric, chili peppers, salted black beans, leeks, and annato oil.
How to Cook Balbacua
To cook balbacua, you will need to be patient as the dish requires a long cooking time. First, boil the ox tail in salt and water for 15 minutes, then drain. Boil the ox tail again in water with tumeric, anise, and onion, then simmer for 2-3 hours, or until semi-tender. Add beef brisket and peanuts, then continue boiling over low fire for another 2-3 hours. When the tail and briskets are almost tender, add chili peppers, salted black beans, leeks, and annato oil. Cook for another 30 minutes to 1 hour and season with patis (fish sauce) to taste.
Alternatively, you can use a pressure cooker to tenderize the ox tail and beef briskets. After boiling the meat for an hour, drain and set aside. Reserve the broth for later use. In a separate pan, make annato oil by heating annato seeds in oil. Then, sauté garlic, onion, and ginger until slightly brown. Add the beef and ox feet/tail and sauté until slightly brown. Once the meat is slightly browned, add some broth to the pan, just enough to cover the meat, and bring it to a boil. Then, add in the salted black beans, anise cloves, chili peppers, and turmeric powder. Give it a good stir and then cover and cook for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, add in the pork and beans and leeks, then cover again and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the sauce has slightly thickened. Finally, season with patis or salt to taste.
Serve the balbacua hot with rice, and enjoy the rich and flavorful dish that has been enjoyed by generations of Filipinos.
Balbacua is a rich and flavorful Filipino dish that has been passed down for generations. It requires a long cooking time but the result is a hearty and satisfying meal that is perfect for special occasions or for a comforting family dinner. Whether you choose to make the traditional slow-cooked version or the quicker pressure cooker method, balbacua is a must-try for any food lover.
Notes on the Ingredients:
The ox tail is the star of the dish and is crucial to its rich flavor and tender texture. This cut of meat is composed of bone, connective tissue, and meat, which requires slow and low cooking to break down the tough connective tissues and produce a flavorful broth. When cooked properly, the meat should fall off the bone and melt in your mouth.
Beef brisket is a tougher cut of meat that comes from the breast section of the cow. It’s often used in stews and braises because of its deep flavor and marbling, which helps to create a rich broth. Like the ox tail, it needs long cooking times to become tender and impart its flavor to the dish.
Peanuts are a popular ingredient in balbacua and are often used to thicken the broth and add a nutty flavor to the dish. They also provide a subtle crunch to the texture. The peanuts are typically ground into a paste or powder and added to the broth towards the end of the cooking process.
Also known as anise cloves, this spice has a licorice-like flavor and is commonly used in Asian cuisine. Anise has a sweet, licorice-like flavor that pairs well with the rich flavors of the meat. It also has a slight numbing effect on the tongue.
Turmeric: A bright orange-yellow spice that is commonly used in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine. It has a slightly bitter, earthy taste and is often used as a natural food coloring.
Chili peppers add a spicy kick to the dish. They can be adjusted to your preferred level of heat.
Salted Black Beans
Salted black beans add a salty, umami flavor to the dish. They can be found in Asian grocery stores.
Leeks add a mild onion flavor to the dish. They are often used in Filipino cuisine as a garnish.
Annato oil is made by heating annato seeds in oil. It adds a deep orange color to the dish and a slightly nutty flavor.
Filipino fish sauce made from fermented fish. It is a staple ingredient in Filipino cuisine and is used as a seasoning and condiment.
How to Cook Balbacua
- 1 kilo ox tail cut in serving size (or you can use half kilo of ox skin and half kilo of beef ribs)
- 1/2 kilo beef briskets cut in serving size
- 150 grams raw peanuts shelled and peeled or ground peanuts
- 1 small can black salted beans drain and rinse in running water then drain again
- 1 small can pork and beans
- 1 red onion bulbs peeled and quartered
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pc fresh tumeric or luyang dilaw , about 3 inches
- 2 stalks baby leeks sliced (optional)
- 3 cloves star anise
- 2 pcs chili peppers
- 1 Tbsp. annato oil
- Patis or fish sauce to taste
How to cook Balbacua:
- Boil ox tail in salt and water for 15 minutes, drain.
- Boil ox tail again in water with tumeric, anise, garlic and onion then simmer for about 2-3 hours, or until semi-tender.
- Add beef briskets and peanuts then continue boiling over low fire for another 2-3 hours.
- When tail and briskets are almost tender, add chili peppers, salted black beans, pork and beans, leeks and annato oil.
- Cook for another 30 minute to 1 hour and season with patis to taste. Serve hot.
Mary Jane Ramos
Hello, any peanut substitute for those who have allergies? Or is it ok to omit this?
As a Cebuana, I grew up having this on special occasions when my papa cooks. Thank you for sharing this. God bless you 🙏🙏🙏
Hi MJ, I think you can use ground toasted rice instead of peanuts. Thanks for sharing your thought and I hope u also watched the video!
Alyn Q. Fernandez
Naalala ko lang Tatay ko, masarap din po yon magluto ng Balbacua. Nong little boy pa lang ako nagluluto yon. Ngayon ako na lang mag luto sundan ko lang po Sir Manny ang recipe mo, makakakain na rin ako ulit nito. Salamat po ng marami sa Sir Manny.
HI Alyn, sige po madali lang naman magluto nito para ka lang nag luluto ng nilagang baka. Kaya lang medyo matagal lang lutuin kasi kailangan malambot na malambot yung balat ng baka.
Can I use pork feet instead of beef?
Hi Mona, I’m not sure if you can but you can try and maybe you can share your experience using the pork feet.
Would it be ok to cook this on pressure cooker po?
Hi Grace, yes you can use pressure cooker but you have to reduce the cooking time.
hi. Ive never tried cooking this dish, but ive tasted the same in some roadside restos in the Visayas, Mindanao..just wanna ask- what makes the dish (when cooked)- reddish? would a chilli poweder be a good substitute to a chilli peppers? Thanks !!
Hi GC, I think chili powder can be a substitute to chili peppers since they are almost the same. Only the chili powder is in dried powder form. And about the reddish color, maybe the restos are putting achuete.
Hello!!Can I used my slow cooker for this recipe?
Hi Maria, yes I think you can use it.
Hi Earl, please read instruction #3.
Sir when do I add the peanuts?
You can use peanut butter also, a spoonful or 2 will do let your tastebuds decide 😉
I like to learn more on cooking…I wish….
Hi Alene, Just remember the saying “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
WE MISS FILIPINO FOOD HERE IN WESTERN NEW YORK WHERE NO PNOY RESTAURANTS EXISTS HERE BUT YOU CAN BUY SOME INGREDIENTS FROM CHINESE GROCERIES. ACROSS THE BORDER IN ONTARIO CANADA, THERE ARE SOME PINOY RESTAURANTS THOUGH. WE HAVE A SLOW COOKER WHICH CAN COOK ADOBO AND MAYBE THE BALBACUA. THANKS
Hi Butch, I think you can buy the ingredients in an Asian supermarket.